Biomimicry: STEM Multipurpose Gloves and Backpacks

BY Maggie Brown

Eastham Elementary School

The goal of this project is to incorporate Engineering and Product development in the study of animals structures and functions.  The children will incorporate an animal structure to create a new purpose(s) for a glove or a backpack. They will then present their creations to the public (other students in the school on a STEM night), and take the feedback they get to redesign or go ahead and come up with a way to market their project.

The objective is to show students that designing new or re -purposed ideas and creating products is only part of the picture.  They need to incorporate math, writing and all other subjects to be able to share and present their ideas to others.  The Engineering Design Process  plus the Product Design Process are similar and both important as 21st Century skills.

Some of the activities will be to have mini challenges:

1. Take an everyday item and come up with as many other uses for it as they can.

2. Be a part of the manufacturing process on an assembly line.

3. Create poster for: I wish I could (fly) if only I had the (wings of a bird) biomimicry

4. Use the Engineering Design Process

5. Use the Product Development Process

6. Create a new ice-cream flavor for a local shop ( donut flavor)

7. Presentations to peers, staff, parents and other students.

8. Create a commercial to “sell” their product

9.  They will also be writing persuasive essays, ads, informational and expository essays.

How will the project be evaluated (e.g. how will you gauge its success)

Each step will have its own evaluation process.

In the Explore phase their mini challenges, research on animal structures and functions will be scored using rubrics.

In the Create phase they will be designing their product, writing persuasive essays, testing their products and redesigning them if needed. Each of these steps will have rubrics attached for children to self assess along with the teacher assessment.

In the Share phase the children will have a final product and presentation that will be scored.

They will also write about their experiences and they will be documented along the way.  This will provide feedback from the children on how well they think they did and on the project as a whole.  They will be asked for what worked and what they think needs to be restructured or changed.

Benefit to the students and the school

The students will get a chance to practice engineering, presenting, science in a totally motivating way as they are allowed to make many choices.  They will be able to take risks and learn that  when we fail fit teaches us something. It will allow other teachers, administrators and parents that incorporating all aspects of education(academic areas of study) in a meaningful way to the students helps them succeed. The students can create a documentary of their journey to share with other schools.

Budget (Please detail how funding will be used. Itemize as appropriate.)

The budget will go for:

one size fits all gloves (30 children)                                                75.00 approx

bags, boxes for back packs(30 children)                                        50.00    ”

material , fabric                                                                              150.00  ”

suction cups                                                                                 225.00 approx for remaining

fabric paint,

mini led lights

felt and foam squares

beads, sequins,

CD’s for copies of documentary

paper and copying for STEM night

presentation boards for ads

padding, fake fur, fake nails

clasps, studs, bowls, buckets

other items not realized yet but from childrens’ imaginations


Timeline of Project (when will you do the project, if applicable.)

The project will start in January 2015 and continue until March 2015.