This lesson, with videos, examines how animals have solved engineering problems and how humans have mimicked those solutions. Suitable for Grade 7-12.

Edit Hook

In this lesson plan, the students observe animal solutions to engineering problems presented in seven videos. They examine animal solutions and explore a comparable human problem. Ways that humans can solve a problem inspired by animal observations are discussed.

Seven different video clips are used in this lesson. All are available on the Shape of Life website.

  • Sponges: Filter Feeding Made Visible (2:17 minutes)
  • Sponge: Wild Ride Through a Sponge (2:19 minutes)
  • Cnidarians: Deep Sea Research (8:39 minutes or go from minute 2:00 to 3:10)
  • Flatworms: The First Hunter (9:54 minutes)
  • Annelids: Abarenicola, Burrowing Worm (2:38 minutes)
  • Arthropods: Blue Crab Molting (2:24 minutes)
  • Molluscs: Nautilus Regulates its Buoyancy (1:54 minutes)
  • Echinoderm: Sea Star Time Lapse: Eating Mussel (2:47 minutes)


Edit Summary


  • Through observing video, discussion, and critical thinking students describe the animal solutions to engineering problems and think of a comparable human problem and a solution that is inspired by the animal’s solution.

Edit Objectives