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This innovative practice work in progress paper presents the Biologically Inspired Design for Engineering Education (BTRDEE) project, to create socially relevant, accessible, highly-contextualized biologically inspired design experiences that can be disseminated to high school audiences engineering audiences in Georgia and nationally. Curriculum units arc 6-10 weeks in duration and will meet many standards for high school engineering courses in Georgia. There will be three curriculum units (one for each engineering course in the 3-course pathway), each building skills in engineering design and specific skills for BID. Currently in its second year, BIRDEE has developed its first unit of curriculum and has hosted its first professional development with 4 pilot teachers in the summer of 2020. The BIRDEE curriculum situates challenges within socially relevant contexts and provides cutting-edge biological scenarios to ignite creative and humanistic engineering experiences to 1) drive greaterengagement in engineering, particularly among women, 2) improve student engineering skills, especially problem definition and ideation skills, and 3) increase students awareness of the connection and impacts between the engineered and living worlds. This paper describes the motivation for the BIRDEE project, the learning goals for the curriculum, and a description of the first unit. We provide reflections and feedback frommore »
Using Structures, Functions, and Mechanisms to Access Biological Analogies: Experiences from High School Engineering Teachers' Professional DevelopmentThis innovative practice work in progress paper presents Biologically inspired design (BID) to transfer design principles identified in nature to human-centered design problems. The Biologically Inspired Design for Engineering Education (BIRDEE) program uses biologically inspired design to teach high school engineering in a way that uniquely engages students in the natural world. For high school students, identifying natural systems’ analogues for human design problems can be challenging. Furthermore, it is often the case that students focus on and transfer superficial structures, rather than underlying design principles. Based on the Structure-Behavior-Function (SBF) design ontology, we developed a modified cognitive scaffold called Structure- Function-Mechanism (SFM) to assist students and teachers with identifying functionally similar biological analogies and identifying and transferring design principles. In this paper we describe SFM and its importance in BID and our observations from teaching SFM to high school teachers during a multi-week professional development workshop in the summer of 2020. Based on teachers’ work artifacts, transcriptions of discussions, and focus groups, we highlight the challenges of teaching SFM and our plans to scaffold this important concept for students and teachers alike.
GETTING BEYOND THE HAIRY HOUSE: USING STRUCTURE-FUNCTIONMECHANISM TO ADVANCE BIOLOGICALLY INSPIRED DESIGN PEDAGOGYIn this case study we report on the use of a Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)-aligned form of Structure-Behavior- Function, called Structure-Function-Mechanism (SFM), to teach four high school engineering teachers an approach for Biologically Inspired Design (BID). Functional theories of design describe a natural way in which designers solve design problems. They provide support for case-based and analogicalbased reasoning systems and have been used successfully to teach BID to undergraduate students. We found that teachers instructed on BID practice and pedagogy using our modified theory were able to grasp the structural concepts and looked for clear markers separating mechanism (behavior) and function. Because of the systems-of-systems nature of most biological entities, these boundaries were often subjective, presenting unique challenge to teachers. As high school engineering teachers look for methods to enhance their pedagogy and to understand multidisciplinary content, these findings will inform future curriculum development and professional learning approaches for engineering education.
Biologically Inspired Design For Engineering Education: Online Teacher Professional Learning (Evaluation)Biologically inspired design has become increasingly common in graduate and undergraduate engineering programs, consistent with an expanding emphasis by professional engineering societies on cross-disciplinary critical thinking skills and adaptive and sustainable design. However, bio-inspired engineering is less common in K-12 education. In 2019, the NSF funded a K-12 project entitled Biologically Inspired Design for Engineering Education (BIRDEE), to create socially relevant, accessible, and highly contextualized high school engineering curricula focusing on bio-inspired design. Studies have shown that women and underrepresented minorities are drawn to curricula, courses, and instructional strategies that are integrated, emphasize systems thinking, and facilitate connection building across courses or disciplines. The BIRDEE project also seeks to interest high school girls in engineering by providing curricula that incorporate humanistic, bio-inspired engineering with a focus on sustainable and authentic design contexts. BIRDEE curricula integrate bio-inspired design into the engineering design process by leveraging design tools that facilitate the application of biological concepts to design challenges. This provides a conceptual framework enabling students to systematically define a design problem, resulting in better, more well-rounded problem specifications. The professional development (PD) for the participating teachers include six-week-long summer internships in university research laboratories focused on biology and bio-inspired design. The goalmore »