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Thursday, July 19, 2012

Try Failing

Biomimicry is really an ideal structure around which to organize the whole school curriculum. Why do I think that? Well, 47% of high school dropouts said the classes were too boring. 8% said they wanted more real world relevance. Biomimicry takes care of both.

Ask an engineer of a certain age how they got interested in engineering. They'll tell you they took apart radios and TVS and cars and tried to put them back together again when their parents found out. Sometimes they fixed it, sometimes not. They didn't know the right answers ahead of time, and it didn't matter. They just tinkered until they were satisfied with the results. Kids don't get many opportunities to take things apart these days, and when they do, chances are they will just find a bunch of faceless circuit boards. They don't get to tinker, to explore, to try things out with no adult telling them the answer, or keeping them so safe they never stray from the path, or telling them what to do next. In short, they don't get to play around with science. 

Contrast that with Biomimicry. Biomimicry is about observing with all your senses, listening with your heart and mind, being free to experiment and fail, being free to invent and find out how things work. Biomimicry is about realizing that everything in the world has NOT already been tried, or at least not by humans! It is about realizing that there are far wiser teachers than the ones at your school. Biomimicry is about playing outside, drawing, listening to the crickets. It's about weird and wonderful nature shows, faraway places, and your backyard. It's about transformative power, life changing excitement, making the world a better place. And above all, it is hopeful. And its yours. 

Biomimicry connects so many aspects of learning: Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math, and Urban Planning. It can get a kid STEAMED UP to learn about the world, take it apart, and get her hands dirty trying to fix it.

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