The Biomimicry Institute’s Youth Design Challenge (YDC) is a project-based learning experience that asks middle and high school teams to design bio-inspired ideas that can provide solutions to critical real-world problems. It provides a framework for formal and informal educators to introduce biomimicry as an engineering design strategy, to integrate relevant purposeful STEM experiences, and to provide engaging instruction aligned to the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).
The Youth Design Challenge (YDC) is a free, hands-on, project-based learning experience that provides classroom and informal educators with a new framework to introduce biomimicry and an interdisciplinary approach to science and environmental literacy. Working in teams with an adult coach, students explore the wonders of the natural world and apply what they learn to create innovations that support a healthier planet.
The YDC is a team competition for students in middle school (grades 6-8) and high school (grades 9-12). A team consists of a pair of students or a group of up to eight students and one to two adult coaches affiliated with a school, educational organization, or homeschool. Please refer to the Official Rules for complete eligibility details.
WHAT WILL YOUR TEAM DO?
Your team will take on the role of innovators and work together to apply biomimicry (nature-inspired innovation) to address a social and/or environmental issue related to a chosen Sustainable Development Goal (SDG). Suggestion: work on an issue that affects your local community!
As a coach, you will guide your students as they study how organisms in nature have adapted to similar problems and challenges, and you will support them in applying what they learn to innovative solutions. Final projects can then be entered into the competition for prizes awarded by the Biomimicry Institute.
HOW DOES THE CHALLENGE MEET INSTRUCTIONAL GOALS?
The Youth Design Challenge is aligned to Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) for both middle school and high school. Full alignments can be downloaded below.
CURRICULUM & TRAINING
Prior experience with biomimicry is not required to participate in the Challenge. A variety of resources and online training opportunities are provided to help you support your students, including full use of all of the MIMIC lesson plans.