Biomimicry: Solving Complex Human Problems Through the Study of Nature

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Course DatesLengthMeeting TimesStatusFormatInstructor(s)CRN
July 12, 2021 - August 18, 20217/12 - 8/185 WeeksOnlineCancelledOnlineJasmine Smith-Gillen
Andrea Stein
July 12, 2021 - August 18, 20217/12 - 8/185 WeeksOnlineCancelledOnlineAndrea Stein

Course Description

The answers to problems can be found in life all around us! Nature is imaginative, adaptable, and efficient – qualities which inspire today’s engineers and scientists. 

Biomimicry is the innovation of learning from nature’s sustainable solutions. It is a growing, exciting field of science and engineering that studies nature as a model and then imitates or takes inspiration from these designs and processes to solve human problems. Recognizing that species have specific adaptations and strategies to survive, we are discovering they have already found elegant answers for many human design issues. This course will dive into areas of Biomimicry, ranging from transportation to energy. We will investigate the many environmental issues our societies face, and come up with creative solutions utilizing the design thinking process to innovate from nature. Come discover the amazing field of Biomimicry and get inspired by nature!

The course will explore the design thinking process and how to apply the principles of biomimicry to address important environmental issues. First, the students will learn how to observe nature, the different patterns that appear in nature, and how close observation can support and inform biometric design. Then, they will learn how to identify a problem and formulate a design question. The students will participate in a design challenge by researching an environmental issue and using the design thinking process to develop a solution with nature as their inspiration. They will engage in peer review and use constructive feedback from their peers to continually improve their design, eventually presenting and sharing the results of their projects through visual presentations. Throughout the course, students will be expected to complete relevant readings and research out of class to inform their projects.

By the end of this course, students will learn:

  • To identify a problem and formulate a clear “design question.”
  • How patterns in nature address problems and model solutions.
  • How to use biological strategies to inform potential design solutions.
  • How to design solutions to environmental problems based on biological patterns and strategies.
  • How to construct, test, assess and redesign, to create the most effective solution.

Prerequisites: A year of biology is strongly recommended.

Course Information

  • Course Code: CEBI1010

Program Information


Brown’s Pre-College Program in the liberal arts and sciences for students completing grades 9-12 by June 2021.

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