STEM, Plants & Biomimicry - Day 1

Contributor
Michele Beitel
Type Category
Instructional Materials
Types
Lesson/Lesson Plan
Note
This resource, vetted by NSTA curators, is provided to teachers along with suggested modifications to make it more in line with the vision of the NGSS. While not considered to be “fully aligned,” the resources and expert recommendations provide teachers with concrete examples and expert guidance using the EQuIP rubric to adapted existing resources. Read more here.

Reviews

Description

Biomimetics is the imitation of the models, systems, and elements of nature for the purpose of solving complex human problems. In this lesson, students identify a human problem and use biomimicry to develop a possible solution.

Intended Audience

Educator
Educational Level
  • Grade 1
Language
English
Access Restrictions

Free access with user action - The right to view and/or download material without financial barriers but users are required to register or experience some other low-barrier to use.

Performance Expectations

K-2-ETS1-1 Ask questions, make observations, and gather information about a situation people want to change to define a simple problem that can be solved through the development of a new or improved object or tool.

Clarification Statement: none

Assessment Boundary: none

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this performance expectation.

Comments about Including the Performance Expectation
This Performance Expectation is explicitly addressed using the Engineering Design Process to identify a problem, and explore solutions derived from the natural world.

1-LS1-1 Use materials to design a solution to a human problem by mimicking how plants and/or animals use their external parts to help them survive, grow, and meet their needs.

Clarification Statement: Examples of human problems that can be solved by mimicking plant or animal solutions could include designing clothing or equipment to protect bicyclists by mimicking turtle shells, acorn shells, and animal scales; stabilizing structures by mimicking animal tails and roots on plants; keeping out intruders by mimicking thorns on branches and animal quills; and, detecting intruders by mimicking eyes and ears.

Assessment Boundary: none

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this performance expectation.

Comments about Including the Performance Expectation
This Performance Expectation is explicitly addressed through the study of plant parts, and their relation to human designed structures. Students then apply this understanding to design a solution to a local problem.

Science and Engineering Practices

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this science and engineering practice.

Comments about Including the Science and Engineering Practice
Students should be encouraged to show how their model demonstrates the way their proposed object will function. Students should be able to demonstrate how their model incorporates the structure of a given plant.

Disciplinary Core Ideas

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this disciplinary core idea.

Comments about Including the Disciplinary Core Idea
This Disciplinary Core Idea is well-integrated into the context of the lesson.

This resource appears to be designed to build towards this disciplinary core idea, though the resource developer has not explicitly stated so.

Comments about Including the Disciplinary Core Idea
To meet this Disciplinary Core Idea, students should be given the opportunity to study plant and animal structures, and how those structures relate to survival. This may be accomplished by further exploration after the “Biomimicry and Plants” slideshow. A guided discussion will help students to connect the plant parts shown in the slideshow to the human made objects shown. To apply this understanding, students will then need the opportunity to explore how these structures can be applied to solve human problems.

Crosscutting Concepts

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this crosscutting concept.

Comments about Including the Crosscutting Concept
To ensure the explicitness of this Crosscutting Concept, teachers will need to highlight the relationship between the structure of a given object and its function. For example, during the “Biomimicry and Plants” slideshow, teachers may use further discussion to explore the function of each highlighted structure, and how that applies to the human application of that structure.

Resource Quality

  • Alignment to the Dimensions of the NGSS: This resource has potential to be representative of three-dimensional learning with some modifications. To ensure the integration of all three dimensions, teachers may elect to make the development of models and their purpose (to explore the structure and function of animal structures) explicit to students. Teachers will also need to highlight the importance of the relationship between an object’s structure and its function. By making these dimensions explicit for students, teachers will ensure a more three-dimensional experience that is rooted in solving the problems that students are already bringing into the lesson.

  • Instructional Supports: While some instructional supports are offered, some updates will be needed to make this resource sufficient for classrooms with diverse learners. Teachers may need to develop further instructional supports to ensure accessibility for all students, which may include more supports during the development of the problem, to more scaffolded support during the Engineering Design Process. Teachers may also consider means to make the Engineering Design Process more accessible to diverse learners using photographs, physical movements, or realia.

  • Monitoring Student Progress: This lesson has checkpoints built in to monitor student progress in relationship to working in a team, but lacks specific guidance for helping students to apply scientific concepts during the Engineering Design Process. Teachers could easily build on existing checkpoints to gather snapshots of students’ developing understanding. During the “Identify the Problem,” “Research,” or “Brainstorm and Design” portions of the lesson, teachers could seek to identify students’ understanding of the relationship between structure and function and offer specific guidance in either small groups or whole class.

  • Quality of Technological Interactivity: While the lesson does include a video clip, there is no specific highlight on technology integration into this lesson. However, there are many opportunities to support student use of technology to modify the lesson. The author’s students do use classroom tablets to complete the ‘Research’ portion of the lesson.