Spaceship Designs Blast Off in Eighth Grade Science

Observation. Analysis. Prediction. Control. Spaceships?

These words might not seem to be related, but Mr. Vedder's eighth grade science class knows better. Recently they boldly went where no young scientists have gone before and used the principles of biomimicry to design spacecrafts.

Biomimicry is the imitation of the models, systems, and elements of nature in order to tackle complex human problems. In order to develop a basic understanding of this scientific approach, students began by examining some simple items from the natural world: seed pods, maple leaves, pine needles, and even a couple of pears shed by a tree on campus!

Working in groups the eighth graders went through a four-step process: they observed each item, analyzed the different features present (using questions like "Why are the seed pods the way they are?"), crafted predictions about how these pieces of nature might behave or affect situations, and ultimately what forces said pieces might control.

This series of activities shaped the students' final task of the lesson: designing a spaceship based off of the information they'd collected. Check out some of their out-of-this-world designs in the slideshow above!

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