ERIC Number: EJ1114506
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016-Jul
Who Is Your Champion? A Close Look at How Plant and Animal Structures Can Help Solve a Problem
Walker, Caryn; Ethington, Roberta L.; Stark, Alyssa Y.
Science and Children, v53 n9 p39-45 Jul 2016
Everyone has problems, from the smallest ant competing for a food source to the largest elephant needing to cool down. Fortunately, organisms have structures that function to help them solve these problems. So when a group of fourth-grade students look for solutions to their problems, who do they turn to? A biological champion, of course! Plants and animals have a long history of solving problems, and by imitating their strengths, students can generate ideas for a better future. Currently, teachers are looking beyond the basic elements of core ideas to incorporate engineering practices; however, making this connection can be a challenge. The authors felt that by incorporating biomimicry, the practice of using nature as a guide to solve human problems (Baumeister 2014), into the existing "Next Generation Science Standards" ("NGSS") fourth-grade science unit on structure and function, they could meet this challenge. Students ultimately explore the question: "What can we learn from plants and animals to help solve the problems we face in our lives?" Then, by working through the engineering design process, they created a model that demonstrates a solution to their problem!
Descriptors: Grade 4, Plants (Botany), Animals, Science Instruction, Problem Solving, Science Education, Engineering Education, Elementary School Science, Elementary School Students, Academic Standards, Science Teachers, Elementary School Teachers
National Science Teachers Association. 1840 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, VA 22201-3000. Tel: 800-722-6782; Fax: 703-243-3924; e-mail: email@example.com; Web site: http://www.nsta.org
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive; Guides - Classroom - Teacher
Education Level: Grade 4; Intermediate Grades; Elementary Education
Sponsor: National Science Foundation (NSF)
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: DEB1252614