In this activity, students learn to “see” function in natural objects—ironically, by encountering, describing, and considering natural objects while blindfolded.

Edit Hook

In order for human technologies to emulate what works in nature, we need to learn to see how nature functions. For example, how the structure of a gecko’s feet allow it to climb walls without using glue, or how termite mounds regulate temperature without external energy. Function is the essence which biomimics seek to emulate from the natural world; however, looking for function is not how students are typically taught to observe nature. This activity is a fundamental introductory exercise that can be used with almost any age group.

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Objectives

  • Students will learn what biological function is, and why it is so important to
    discern.

  • Students recognize that organisms are the way they are (in terms of anatomy,
    physiology, behavior, etc.) to achieve many functions.

  • Students learn how to explore an organism’s form and function in an entirely
    new way, and to suspend what they “know” about the organism in order to see
    it with fresh eyes.

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