It is deceptively easy to think that biomimicry is simply an approach where the only purpose is to invent and design new things. An approach to creating things or solve problems by using principles that have been tested by nature for billions of years. Admittedly , this is is one of the reasons why I think that biomimicry should be taught to young children. Biomimicry is an exciting way to inspire young children to be creative, curious and to observe the world. Studying nature in this way inspires a playful and creative approach towards problem-solving. Biomimicry bridges the boundaries traditionally found in education and provides young children with an opportunity to mix art, literature and science with an innovative approach.
Yet, it is when we dig deeper into the different design principles of plants and animals and their life systems that biomimicry explodes into interesting questions. Questions that forces us to think about why nature is working in a specific way. Questions that forces us to look at our own relationship to nature.
Just like children can have something to say about philosophy so they can have an opinion and indeed desire to explore biomimicry at a deeper level. Describing nature and looking for ways that nature works is great but to build the world that is based upon other principles it is necessary to also teach children to think about underlying principles.
Question asking is an undervalued part of education, something that I have written about before, go here to read some articles, and when using biomimicry with young children it is also great to allow children to ask deeper questions about nature. Questions of a more philosophical nature that will help them to develop a mindset that understands nature. Although at first everything may be more confusing, which is the impact that questions of a philosophical nature usually have on the mind.
Questions such as:
- What type of washing powder would the river like us to develop?
- What type of clothes would the soil like us to make?
- What do the apple trees want us to want?