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Designing a Solution to a Human Problem: Biomimicry for First and Second Grade

Did you know we use biomimicry in our daily life?

Designing a solution to a human problem is what biomimicry is.  It literally means mimicking life. We use biomimicry in our everyday life. Biomimicry is taking an idea from nature and applying it to a human problem, This is how velcro was invented.

biomimicry first grade

Use materials to design a solution to a human problem that mimics how plants and animals use their external parts to survive, grow, and meet their needs. This is a tricky standard for First Grade and interestingly it also aligns with the Second Grade Standard for Utah SEEd.

NGSS 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.*
And Utah SEEd for Second Grade
Utah SEEd Standard 2.2.4 Design a solution to a human problem by mimicking the structure and function of plants and/or animals and how they use their external parts to help them survive, grow, and meet their needs. Define the problem by asking questions and gathering information, convey designs through sketches, drawings, or physical models, and compare and test designs. Examples could include a human wearing a jacket to mimic the fur of an animal or a webbed foot to design a better swimming fin.
My unit starts by asking students to look at the phenomena.  What do these two pictures have in common?
biomimicry
We discuss camouflage.
Students gather information about animal and plant parts that help them and then they are challenged to make something that solves a human problem by mimicking a plant or animal part.
 
Students match the animal or plant to its adaptation.
Matching Puzzle Card
 
Next we start building. These are young children so their designs are simple and they must articulate their understanding by explaining what the human problem was and what animal or plant part they are mimicking.
 
First Grade Science ProjectThis one was mimicking a plant air sac-like water plants sometimes have.  He was making a thermometer that would float in the pool.
STEM Engineering First Grade
This one is for grabbing scooping and it mimics a pelican’s bill.
 
student work sample NGSS
 
The fuzzy sock is supposed to keep this “person” warm like an animal’s fur.
 
NGSS 1-LS1-1.
 
This one mimics a giant ear that a rabbit or deer would have to help a person hear better.
 
The entire unit with a slide show and follow up pages and puzzle cards are available here in Teaching Science.
Design thinking
Design thinking
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See my unit for first grade on Animals and Their Babies

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    I am so impressed with this unit which manages to be distance learning and hands-on at the same time.  Really well thought out and engaging activities that allow students to practice each of the eight Science and Engineering Practices.  Really no prep for me!

     
    Science and Engineering Practices Distance Education Unit

    Tina S

    Teaching Science with Lynda R. Williams
    5
    2016-05-03T18:05:39-06:00

    Tina S

    I am so impressed with this unit which manages to be distance learning and hands-on at the same time.  Really well thought out and engaging activities that allow students to practice each of the eight Science and Engineering Practices.  Really no prep for me!   Science and Engineering Practices Distance Education Unit
    The elephant article was excellent but I also thought the lab on dissecting a flower was broken down so easily, even telling me where to get inexpensive flowers!  This resource helped me teach this challenging standard in an engaging way.  Worth every penny!

     
    Structure and Function NGSS 4-LS1-1 and 4-LS1-2

    Richard S

    Teaching Science with Lynda R. Williams
    5
    2016-05-03T18:07:52-06:00

    Richard S

    The elephant article was excellent but I also thought the lab on dissecting a flower was broken down so easily, even telling me where to get inexpensive flowers!  This resource helped me teach this challenging standard in an engaging way.  Worth every penny!   Structure and Function NGSS 4-LS1-1 and 4-LS1-2
    As always, Lynda provides perfect alignment with the standards.

     
    Age of the Earth and Geologic Time Scale NGSS MS ESS1-4

    Sharon M

    Teaching Science with Lynda R. Williams
    5
    2016-05-03T18:24:44-06:00

    Sharon M

    As always, Lynda provides perfect alignment with the standards.   Age of the Earth and Geologic Time Scale NGSS MS ESS1-4
    Thank you so much for creating this resource! It is such a fun and engaging activity for my students, especially during distance learning.

     
    Honey Bee Digital Escape Distance Learning

    Expedition Fourth

    Teaching Science with Lynda R. Williams
    2020-11-03T20:44:55-07:00

    Expedition Fourth

    Thank you so much for creating this resource! It is such a fun and engaging activity for my students, especially during distance learning.   Honey Bee Digital Escape Distance Learning
    My students loved this unit. I was able to present different elements of it throughout the month. It is hard to find interesting non-fictional, age-appropriate text for my students that they will enjoy. This was a great unit that aligned well for my students who have very different goals within the same group.

     
    Compare and Contrast Two Texts on Reindeer

    Heidi J

    Teaching Science with Lynda R. Williams
    2020-11-03T20:45:49-07:00

    Heidi J

    My students loved this unit. I was able to present different elements of it throughout the month. It is hard to find interesting non-fictional, age-appropriate text for my students that they will enjoy. This was a great unit that aligned well for my students who have very different goals within the same group.   Compare and Contrast Two Texts on Reindeer
    5
    3
    Teaching Science with Lynda R. Williams