Engineering in Nature Challenge

by Inga Yandell©

It has been said that the future of wildlife resides in our ability to create innovative preservation strategies and who better to expand our field of thought than the next generation of wild guardians.

Children around the world undertake a challenge in nature exploration and invention with the help of interactive lessons from ARKive.

As a child my education of nature came from family adventures in the outdoors, books and of course Sir David Attenborough’s captivating documentaries—all but one of these afforded first-hand experience. Today the world of wildlife rivets young minds beyond the text-bound study of species, using various media, real world mentors and challenging activities, children can discover and experience nature first-hand.

The latest educational initiative from ARKive, unites several online resources to create the ‘Engineering in Nature Challenge’. Designed for students aged 11-14, the three week event comprises of five challenges inspired by nature, these include building a beak, exploring seed dispersal, learning about light reflection in trees, designing a gliding bird, and engineer an octopus suction pad.

Materials such as lesson plans, activity worksheets and presentations are free, with tutelage from real world scientists. Under the mentorship of a naturalist, students learn how to identify species, research behaviour, biology, and ecology.

But most beneficial to this approach in nature education is the concept of the challenge, which encourages our youth to engage in creative projects that value curiosity and innovation. This helps children to consider the challenges facing our natural world in a constructive, open-minded and positive manner.

Armed with knowledge, and fuelled by inspiration, the young become part of natures future.

Get more out of the Challenge by registering!

For this challenge, ARKive has partnered with Iridescent, a science education nonprofit that links science professionals with under privileged youth through its innovative learning platform, the Curiosity Machine. Every student registered for the challenge will be paired with a real world scientist who will work with them to create their Nature in Engineering Challenge inventions and these aren’t just any scientists—the mentors for the Engineering in Nature Challenge are practicing science at distinguished institutions such as Harvard, Stanford and more!

Signing up for the challenge also includes an invitation to weekly Google Hangout events (beginning on Friday, Nov 1st) where Iridescent and ARKive team members will be there to support participants throughout the three week challenge.

So, are you ready to bring engineering to the classroom in a WILD way?

Then, sign up today and have a look at the challenge materials on ARKive!

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Inga Yandell
Explorer and photo-journalist, passionate about nature, culture and travel. Combining science and conservation with investigative journalism to provide educational resources and a platform for science exploration.
Inga Yandell

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