1356 Views
  1. Marc Weissburg
  2. https://cbid.gatech.edu/
  3. Professor
  4. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  5. Georgia Institute of Technology
  1. Meltem Alemdar
  2. https://www.ceismc.gatech.edu/about/staffdirectory/meltem-alemdar
  3. Principal Research Scientist/co-PI
  4. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  5. Georgia Institute of Technology
  1. Christopher Cappelli
  2. https://www.ceismc.gatech.edu/about/staffdirectory/christopher-cappelli
  3. Senior Research Associate
  4. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  5. Georgia Institute of Technology
  1. Hoda Ehsan
  2. Post doc
  3. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  4. Georgia Institute of Technology
  1. Michael Helms
  2. Senior Research Scientist
  3. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  4. Georgia Institute of Technology
  1. Euisun Kim
  2. Postdoctoral Fellow
  3. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  4. Georgia Institute of Technology
  1. Roxanne Moore
  2. Senior Research Engineer
  3. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  4. Georgia Institute of Technology
  1. Jeff Rosen
  2. CEISMC Program Director
  3. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  4. Georgia Institute of Technology

Students and teachers learning from Nature: Studying biologically-Inspired De...

NSF Awards: 1907906

2021 (see original presentation & discussion)

Grades 9-12

Biologically-inspired design (BID) is a way of using principles from Nature to solve engineering design challenges. It is engaging, novel, and leverages sustainable technology produced by over 3 billion years of adaptation. We describe how we are developing BID curricula for high school engineering classes that will: motivate students with new ideas while stressing problem understanding, engineering design methodology, and systems thinking; allow students to make analogies from natural mechanisms to human challenges;  explore how natural mechanisms yield engineering design solutions through conceptual design, prototyping and testing. 

This video has had approximately 284 visits by 205 visitors from 133 unique locations. It has been played 135 times.
activity map thumbnail Click to See Activity Worldwide
Map reflects activity with this presentation from the 2021 STEM For All Video Showcase website, as well as the STEM For All Multiplex website.
Based on periodically updated Google Analytics data. This is intended to show usage trends but may not capture all activity from every visitor.
show more
Discussion from the 2021 STEM For All Video Showcase (18 posts)
  • Icon for: Marc Weissburg

    Marc Weissburg

    Lead Presenter
    Professor
    May 10, 2021 | 02:46 p.m.

    Greetings All from the BIRDEE Team. We hope you find this short video inspirational and informative. We can only scratch the surface of how this novel approach can help us be more creative, equitable and sustainable, so let us know if you have questions or comments.  We will consider this a great success if you come away from this thinking "I'll never look at Nature the same way"

  • Small default profile

    Jeannette Yen

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 11, 2021 | 12:36 p.m.

    Excellent professional presentation! Good examples that clearly show the connection between biology, engineering and design. Kudos for your effort to encourage young girls to engage -and stay engaged- in the sciences or STEM [science, technology, engineering and mathematics].  I like your golden ratio bird logo for BIRDEE.

     

  • Icon for: Michael Helms

    Michael Helms

    Co-Presenter
    Senior Research Scientist
    May 11, 2021 | 03:02 p.m.

    Thank you Jeannette. We're very proud of the program, and the logo :)

  • Icon for: Kirby Whittington

    Kirby Whittington

    Postdoctoral Researcher
    May 11, 2021 | 02:59 p.m.

    I am so excited to see the connection between biology and engineering. With the more recent focus on engineering design in the NGSS, it is very timely to have projects that bridge multiple science disciplines. If I understand correctly, you all are working with engineering teachers (as opposed to biology or integrated science teachers), have there been any changes for these teachers in taking up this integration?

  • Icon for: Roxanne Moore

    Roxanne Moore

    Co-Presenter
    Senior Research Engineer
    May 11, 2021 | 03:56 p.m.

    Hi Kirby!  Yes, you are correct-- we are working with engineering teachers. Generally, there are fewer constraints in engineering classes than there are in core science classes, which gives us a little more flexibility.  Because of COVID, we haven't been in the classroom, but we have run professional learning for our pilot teachers last summer.  A key question that we are trying to answer is: how much biological content do the engineering teachers need to know to be comfortable teaching this curriculum? We hope we'll get a better sense on teacher effects (and maybe even student effects!) when we roll out the first two units next academic year. 

     
    1
    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    Michael Helms
  • Icon for: Marc Weissburg

    Marc Weissburg

    Lead Presenter
    Professor
    May 11, 2021 | 03:59 p.m.

    Thanks! We definitely love the interdisciplinary perspective since it has a variety of benefits, both inspirational and pedagogical. We are working with engineering teachers, since we want to embed this into what engineers do, and because the engineering field is not particularly diverse. One of our central ideas is using biology (which also invokes sustainability) can increase persistence and motivation to pursue engineering in groups that are so far less well represented. But yes, it is a challenge to engineering teachers, many of whom have not much of a biology background. So a good part of our work is to figure out how to scaffold this for those teachers. They do need a richer context for the biology, and we are identifying the best ways to give them this.

     

     
    1
    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    Michael Helms
  • Icon for: Heidi Carlone

    Heidi Carlone

    Facilitator
    Distinguished Professor
    May 12, 2021 | 08:24 p.m.

    I'm really intrigued by this project. I've worked in environmental education, science education, and engineering education, but haven't yet done anything with biologically-inspired design. Brilliant idea! So many ideas bubble to the surface for me. I wonder how youths' understanding of the natural world shift as a result in their participation in these projects? (Looking at Marc's comment above-- "you'll never look at nature the same way again"). I keep thinking that, on the one hand, youth may come to appreciate structure/function more robustly, but I wonder if their understandings simultaneously may shift to view the natural world in a more functional  or technical way (vs aesthetic, caring, connected ways). That's fascinating to me. I think there's probably a way to do both, and I wonder if your curriculum is designed to invoke particular perspectives on humans, the natural world, and nature/culture relations. 

    For this part of the project, what will constitute success? How, if at all, do you see this work developing?

    Thanks for sharing!

     

     

     
    1
    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    Kimberly Elliott
  • Icon for: Marc Weissburg

    Marc Weissburg

    Lead Presenter
    Professor
    May 13, 2021 | 08:50 a.m.

    Great comment and important questions. We definitely see that, in other contexts, people take a more functional view and start to think about how animals actually work and why, and relate that to their own problems, but it goes well beyond this. The environmentalist Dioum said "In the end we will conserve only what we love; we will love only what we understand; and we will understand only what we are taught". We know informally from  other contexts that BID causes a significant revaluation of nature, even when people cannot use BID directly, We respect (!) our teachers and BID involves learning from organisms as much as learning about them.Part of our research will be to look at attitudes around sustainability;   we will consider this project a success if it improves those attitudes, as well as increasing persistence in engineering particularly among underrepresented groups. We will be successful if we can understand in enough detail what is required to scaffold BID for teachers and students and develop a scaled up web based platform to deliver training. We want every HS teacher in the US to be able to do this if they desire.

     
    2
    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    Heidi Carlone
    Kimberly Elliott
  • Icon for: Daniel Damelin

    Daniel Damelin

    Facilitator
    Senior Scientist
    May 13, 2021 | 12:31 a.m.

    What kinds of engineering design activities have you developed? There are lots of great examples of transfer from nature to problem solution in the video. Beyond learning about these successes how do students engage in their own design challenges?

     
    1
    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    Kimberly Elliott
  • Icon for: Marc Weissburg

    Marc Weissburg

    Lead Presenter
    Professor
    May 13, 2021 | 09:07 a.m.

    One of the not so secret secrets of BID is that it often goes from solution to problem-which were the examples in the video (glad you liked them). These examples are really good for inspiring, but not as good for teaching engineering and design methods, of which we want BID to be a part. We will use both solution to problem and problem to solution activities across the three course sequence and begin with the solution oriented approach since it immediately engages the novel and hopefully interesting biological part. These activities are centered on organismal function and then making an analogy to human problems, which builds the necessary approach and is largely conceptual.  Most of the design-build activities are focused on particular problems/challenges. In the first course in the sequence we start with the problem of maintaining temp, contextualizing this as a problem of delivering something important (like a vaccine) to people with no need for refrigeration (we know societally relevant problems are more engaging). We then have the students deconstruct current products to gain some understanding of how they work, and then look at organisms from the context of providing insulation. The students have to prototype some material and this is associated with tests using simple temperature probes.  In the second course we start with research on elephants (we have connections with labs doing this) to again inspire, and then move onto a the problem of building a gripper that can pick up non-regular and delicate objects, which connects to how elephants use their trunk (soft-robotics is a robust BID field). The last course is probably going to have a more open ended design activity, but we're just getting around to this aspect. Covid has delayed our progression somewhat. 

     
    2
    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    Brian Gane
    Kimberly Elliott
  • Icon for: Dr. Julia V. Clark

    Dr. Julia V. Clark

    Facilitator
    Retired Federal Employee
    May 13, 2021 | 04:48 p.m.

    This is a very timely, innovative, and informative project. It is highly engaging for the participants. The project is designed to motivate students with new ideas involving engineering design methodology.  An important aspect of the project is that the engineering design is aligned with NGSS. Teachers and students learning from nature makes the learning experiences authentic.

     I

     
    1
    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    Kimberly Elliott
  • Icon for: Roxanne Moore

    Roxanne Moore

    Co-Presenter
    Senior Research Engineer
    May 14, 2021 | 11:34 a.m.

    Thanks, Julia! Yes, with NGSS now including engineering design explicitly, this is a great opportunity to infuse some biology content with practices and cross-cutting concepts (data collection/ visualization, asking questions, using models, etc.) We have found in a past project (AMP-IT-UP, which focused on engineering courses for middle school) that infusing these practices in engineering courses (along with foundational mathematics) actually boosted students' performance in math and science when they took engineering at least twice (Alemdar, R. Moore, J. Lingle, J. Rosen, J. Gale, M. Usselman (2018) The Impact of a Middle School Engineering Course on Students’ Academic and Non-Cognitive Skills, International Journal of Education in Mathematics, Science, and Technology, Vol 6(4), 363-380.) While that's not really the focus of this project, and the sample size would be too small at this point, we have evidence to support this type of curriculum development as being effective for students in terms of attitudes and competencies. :) 

     
    1
    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    Kimberly Elliott
  • Small default profile

    Nick Briere

    May 14, 2021 | 11:18 a.m.

    Anything led by THE Dr. Roxanne Moore has my support!

  • Icon for: Roxanne Moore

    Roxanne Moore

    Co-Presenter
    Senior Research Engineer
    May 14, 2021 | 11:26 a.m.

    haha-- thanks, Nick! Hope you're doing well. :) 

  • Icon for: Brian Gane

    Brian Gane

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 15, 2021 | 01:06 p.m.

    Hi Marc and all the BIRDEE team, this project looks off to a good start and has great potential! The biologically-inspired design (BID) focus definitely seems likely to help teachers and students view engineering from a different perspective. 

    Although this project's focus is on HS engineering teachers, it seems like the same approach could also help many elementary teachers start bringing engineering into their science lessons. In elementary there seems to be an emphasis and familiarity with life science content, so introducing BID might then help teachers more confidently bring engineering practices and ideas into their activities. Have you considered or have experience using BID with teachers at other levels or disciplines? 

    Also, as the project moves forward -- what student outcomes are you interested in achieving through teachers' implementation of these curricula and what measures and approaches might you use to evaluate impact? 

  • Icon for: Meltem Alemdar

    Meltem Alemdar

    Co-Presenter
    Principal Research Scientist/co-PI
    May 17, 2021 | 09:56 a.m.

    Hi Brian! Good to hear from you!

    In this research, we are looking at students' proficiency, understanding of the engineering design process. One of our hypothesis is that the BID integration could increase students' understanding of the initial stages of the EDP such as problem scoping. We have several research instruments from our previous NSF engineering project ( AMP-IT-UP ). We have developed a web-based EDP log and tested a EDP rubric as part of the project. We now revised it to capture the BID components. Additionally, as part of our previous project, we have EDP assessment (Multiple Papers about the assessment). We are also working on student self-assessment for EDP. Engineering classrooms usually lack quality formative assessments, so we are hoping that we'll be able to provide some new formative assessment tools to the teachers. Other student outcomes are engineering self-efficacy; attitudes toward the natural and designed world; engagement and intent to persist in engineering (pre-post surveys). 

    Thank you for your interest. 

    Meltem

  • Icon for: Brian Gane

    Brian Gane

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 18, 2021 | 07:44 p.m.

    Hi Mel, thanks for all the linked materials, and glad to see that your previously developed research instruments are put to work here too! I agree about the need quality assessments that teachers can use formatively, especially if they can help teachers and students focus on the process as well as the final product. 

  • Icon for: Marc Weissburg

    Marc Weissburg

    Lead Presenter
    Professor
    May 17, 2021 | 08:29 a.m.

    Hi Brian,

     

    thanks for your interest and questions.  I've engaged 3-6 graders in BID in an informal way, and they picked it up a lot more intuitively than I had imagined. I thought they wouldn't get it, but in fact they are so unconstrained they would come up with all sorts of interesting parallels between animals and human problems. That being said, making these analogies is only the first step, and things like  structure-behavior-function thinking that is an essential component may be a little hard for students of this age. I don't know too much about their level of sophistication wrt thinking analogically. Nor do I know enough about science standards at these grade levels to know how it fits. But  we'd certainly be willing to discuss this further if there are interested parties.

    I'll leave the questions about outcomes and measures to the other team members who are more focused in this.

     

     

  • Further posting is closed as the event has ended.

Multiplex Discussion
  • Members may log in to post to this discussion.