Read about how to engage students in a way that transforms their outlook on the world and their own creativity. Suitable for teachers of students in elementary through high school.

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From the Publisher:

Your students will not only understand engineering principles, but also use them to design and make their own Nature-inspired inventions.

Studded with more than 150 photos of natural phenomena and Nature-inspired technologies, this fascinating and practical book clearly demonstrates that engineering design is broadly relevant for all students, not just those who may become scientists or engineers. Samuel Cord Stier provides activities for students at every grade level to explore design concepts and engage in activities aligned with the design standards of the NGSS and the maker movement. Kids will love seeing how snail-inspired fluid dynamics are built into the design of flexible armour and bulletproof vests, and how ant-and bird-inspired algorithms have transformed video games and robots.

Engineering Education for the Next Generation is a wonderful introduction to the topic for any teacher who wants to understand more about engineering design in particular, and STEM in general.

The book contains:

Chapter 1: Why a Nature-Inspired Approach?
Makes the case that engineering education is broadly relevant to all students, not just those who may become engineers, and highlights the value of a Nature-inspired approach in terms of meeting Next Generation Science Standards, integrating STEM/STEAM subjects, enhancing college and career preparation, generating student interest, fostering a connection with Nature, re-energizing teachers and their practice, and more.

Chapter 2: Getting Started
Offers practical and effective ways to introduce the fascinating subject of engineering and Nature-inspired engineering to students of all backgrounds.

Chapter 3: Learning Structural Engineering from Schoolyard Trees
Demonstrates how to unpack fundamental concepts in material science and structural engineering by going no further than the schoolyard. Among other activities, students make models to see physical stress effects using plastic from the garbage bin and learn how professional engineers borrow ideas from trees to improve the safety of buildings and bridges.

Chapter 4: Enlightened by Bones
Explores how professional engineers and designers learn from bones how to make designs lighter without sacrificing performance. Students apply what they’ve learned to their own redesign of a common household object.

Chapter 5: Fun With Fluids
Investigates engineering concepts related to fluid dynamics, such as learning from snails how to develop flexible armor. Students experiment with viscosity, and design and test gliders based on aerodynamics principles learned from dandelions.

Chapter 6: Teaching Sustainability Through Engineering
Brings a complex and essential topic down to Earth in an engaging, optimistic way. Explores issues and innovations in manufacturing, energy, chemistry, and waste inspired by the ingenious, thriving world around us. Solution-oriented student activities include making cement from car exhaust, a plant-dye-based solar cell, and other activities based on the Five to Thrive framework.

Chapter 7: Taken by Swarm (Nature-Inspired Computer Science)
Explores the world of algorithmic thought and explains how professional computer scientists borrow ideas from organisms such as ants and from processes such as evolution to improve movies, video games, and more. Activities examine how complex behaviors can result from simple rules.

Chapter 8: Students Invent!
Discusses the steps involved in Nature-inspired engineering and innovation, and provides practical activities for teachers to apply to mentor students of any age in using design processes in student-led projects, synthesizing students’ skills, and building young peoples’ sense of empowerment and possibility.

The author Sam Stier is the Founding Director of The Center for Learning With Nature.  An ecologist by training, Sam founded and directed the Youth and Public Education Programs at the Biomimicry Institute. In addition to directing The Center for Learning with Nature, Sam also teaches bio-inspired design at Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles. He leads teacher training for primary, secondary, and post-secondary educators all over the world, and workshops for design professionals.

Visit The Center for Learning with Nature to learn more about their educational materials and teaching training courses.

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