This project storyline is a suggested sequence of connected lessons that guides students through a learning journey to complete the Biomimicry Youth Design Challenge.

Edit Hook

This project storyline is a suggested sequence of connected lessons that guides students through a learning journey to answer the question: “How can learning from nature help us solve a local sustainability problem that is connected to global climate change?” In doing so students explore the fascinating world of biomimicry, investigate a local sustainability problem they would like to solve, and use the engineering design process to model a nature-inspired solution to the problem. At the conclusion of this lesson sequence, students are prepared to submit their innovations to the Biomimicry Institute’s Biomimicry Youth Design Challenge (YDC), a project-based learning experience and design competition for middle and high school students.

The YDC Storyline can be followed in its entirety, used partially to support one or more areas of the Challenge, used as a template to create your own storyline, or used to identify the lesson resources that fit into your own instructional plan. To access the Storyline, educators must register for the Youth Design Challenge. Doing so does not obligate you or your students to submit a competition entry.

Each lesson in the Storyline includes the following elements:

  • A driving question that provide the foundation for each lesson and requires investigation or problem-solving to answer. As each driving question is answered and understood, it naturally leads to the next driving question, and so on until students have answered the anchor question.
  • A learning goal that states the reason for the lesson by explaining what the learners will be able to do after completing the lesson.
  • A description of “what learners do,” which outlines a sequence of class activities for students to investigate and use to answer the driving question.
  • A description of “what learners figure out,” which describes the concepts or processes learned from the activities.
  • A collection of lesson resources, including suggested videos, interactive websites, lesson plans, background information, articles, and other supportive resources for the activities described in “what learners do.” All resources are indexed on the YDC. Log in and go to the Instructional Storyline page of the Educator Resources.
Edit Summary


  • Learners will build a strong foundational understanding of biomimicry.

  • Learners will investigate a local problem connected to global sustainability issues and climate change.

  • Learners will explore the traits and strategies of living things for design inspiration.

  • Learners will create and refine a design innovation.

  • Learners will reflect on and present their solutions in writing, imagery, and via a video pitch.

Edit Objectives