In this interactive exercise the functions a building must perform are compared to the functions a tree must perform, helping students see that humans are not alone in our need to solve technological problems.

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Humans often feel that we are a categorically different species than the rest of nature. For years children were taught that humans were the only species that used tools — an idea shattered by Jane Goodall’s observation of chimpanzees fishing for termites using sticks. One of biomimicry’s most important implications is that nature’s technological solutions address humanity’s technological challenges. In other words, that humanity is not alone. Instead, what we are surrounded by is a wealth of ideas for solving our own technological challenges. This activity conveys this important idea.

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Objectives

  • Students are able to understand and lead other people to the understanding that the natural world is a highly relevant place to look for answers to humanity’s technological challenges.

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