Explore resources for introducing biomimicry to young learners using Velcro, one of the most widely recognized examples.

The Story

Burdock (and many other kinds of plants) produce seeds that are covered in tiny hooks. These tiny hooks catch on the fur (or socks!) of passing animals, helping the plant disperse its seeds. They also inspired George de Mestral, the inventor of Velcro®, to create the first hook and loop fastener. Recognizing how effective the hooks were at latching onto looped fibers, Mestral envisioned a reversible two-part fastening system consisting of one surface covered with tiny hooks and another with fuzzy loops. Although the idea is simple, it took Mestral 10 years of work to engineer the manufacturing process that enabled the mass production of Velcro®.

Recommended Teaching Resources

Use these resources to engage students in this topic and make connections to structure and function.