Biomimicry and the Maker approach

An interesting post on the Make blogThe Maker's Bill of Rights by explores the relationship between the way that nature ‘designs’ stuff and the approach to designing and making taken by makers.

More specifically it relates the Maker’s Bill of Rights (see left) with a biomimetic summary of Life’s Principles created by the Biomimicry Education Network. For example:

…we’ve distilled the Bill of Rights down to the following four main directives, and discuss how each compares to how life works:


Enable Disassembly, Reassembly, Repair, and Upcycling
Whereas many consumer products are actively designed to keep consumers from repairing or modifying them (see Kyle Wiens article in Make:40, the Right to Repair) nature favors the ability to repair and renew.

Not only does life not toss out what still has value, it doesn’t toss out anything. That’s manifested in this directive — we should be able to repair and upcycle our products, and we should therefore design for disassembly and reassembly. This ultimately results in much less energy and materials being used to make new products, mirroring how life optimizes its use of energy and materials.

Now, we have a new National Curriculum requirement to include biomimicry in D&T at KS3 and there is also increasing interest in how the ‘maker movement’ might relate to designing and making in schools. It strikes me that Ritter’s article points towards a possibly fruitful way to bring these two strands together within D&T Teaching.

If you are interested in exploring this space, both Ritter’s other articles and the curriculum resources at BEN may well be of interest – and I would certainly be interested in working with teachers to develop and try out teaching approaches that build on these ideas.