New Perspectives in Science Education

Edition 13

Accepted Abstracts

Biomimicry : An approach for innovative STEM projects in high school

Ruetai Chongsrid, National Science and Technology Development Agency, Ministry of Science and Technology (Thailand)


In Thailand, National Science and Technology Development Agency (NSTDA), the Science Society of Thailand under the Patronage of His Majesty the King, and the Institute for the Promotion of Teaching Science and Technology are the three leading organizations that contribute to the development of scientific education through encouraging high school students to do STEM projects. There have been more than 2,000 STEM projects supported by these organizations over 20 years. This article explores 2 topics, ideas behind Biomimicry and key factors that make the STEM projects successful.

         Many innovative STEM projects from both international and national contests are inspired by the nature including structures and functions of  living organisms which, through evolution, are both sophisticated and well optimized for surrounding environments. We define these types of projects as “Biomimicry”. A few examples are millipede’s movement mimicry, bio-based packaging plastics from fish scale, and water retention mimicry of the Bromeliaceae.

         To investigate what makes successful STEM projects, I interviewed many STEM award winners, both project advisors and students. There are 5 major factors: the opportunity to closely observe the living organisms and their environments, relevant questions which bring about innovative ideas and designs, inspirable advisors who are open-minded and willing to spend sufficient time with students, deep scientific understanding, and last but not least perseverance to make the projects successful.

Keywords: Biomimicry; STEM projects;  from nature to technology; inspiration; project approach; science education. 


[1] Custe, Rodney L" and Jenny L" Daugherty. "Professional Development for Teachers of Engineering: Research and Related Activities", National Academy of Engineering, 18-24
[2] Benyus, Janine. Innovation Inspired by Nature, New York, Harper Perennial, 2002, 95 - 145
[3] Forbes Peter. "Designing the future (Naturally)”, The gecko's foot, New York, W.W. Norton & Company, 2005, 231-237
[4] Triphetprapa  S., Komkla K. and Phianchat T.  Natural Innovative Water Retention Mimicry Bromeliad (Aechmea aculeatosepala). Bangkok, 2016, 1-20.

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