This book provides simple explanations for natural phenomena, each illustrated with diagrams, photos, and charts, all with descriptive captions.


  • Readers will acquire a basic understanding of earth and life sciences.
  • Readers will find biological inspiration for solutions to design challenges.

This book is an excellent resource for older students seeking inspiration and explanations to use in design challenges or for educators looking to explain natural phenomena to younger students. It is a classic reference for educators. What make this book so unique from other books about nature and biology is that it is organized principally by function.

The book is made up of two-page responses to 160 questions that children might ask such as: How is dead matter decomposed? How are animals adapted to heat and drought? How do plants survive extreme cold? How do animals crawl? These questions are function-based, which is how biomimicry approaches finding solutions to human design problems. The diagrams and carefully written captions can stand alone, or one can read the full text in each essay for deeper understanding.

The book is organized into nine sections, two on earth sciences (“Shaping the Planet” and “The Power of the Atmosphere”) and seven on life sciences (“Evolution and ”, “Reproducing to Survive”, “The Search for Food”, “Movement and Shelter”, “Attack and Defense”, “Senses and Communication”, “The Living Environments”)

Front cover

Page spread from The Way Nature Works.

Note: This book is now out of print, but used copies are commonly available for purchase online.