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September 27, 2011 

Design from Nature   


 ABOVE: Sharks' streamlined profiles were the inspiration for new sports swimsuit designs. 


What do Spider-Man, Velcro, and Beijing Olympics swimsuits have in common? Each gets its super powers from designs found in nature. Biologically inspired engineering, known as biomimicry or biomimetics, has produced a host of ingenious technologies, from snake-like robots to Gecko Tape. (Velcro, invented in 1941, mimics how burrs stick in a dog's fur.) Besides sleek swimsuits, sharks may point the way to fuel-efficient aircraft and submarines. Your natural designers will blossom in this week's lesson. Flower power, anyone?


Download our Teacher Guide for more ideas!


Lesson: Let Innovation Bloom 


sunflowerIn this lesson, students in grades 6-8 discover how engineers can use biomimicry to enhance their designs. They learn how careful observation of nature - in this case, reverse engineering a flower - can lead to new innovations and products.


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Feature: Student Invents Solar Sapling  


solar sapling On a hike through New York's Catskill Mountains, seventh grader Aidan Dwyer noticed that the branches of oak trees seemed to grow in a certain pattern. Inspired to try his hand at biomimicry, he created a tree-like arrangement of small solar panels capable of generating 20 to 50 percent more energy than traditional flat designs.


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The Physics of Wet Dogs and Drinking Cats  



K-12 News: New Science Standards Planned 

science standards Just as they led the development of Common Core literacy and math standards, 20 states now are heading up a nationwide effort to improve K-12 STEM education by creating robust new "next generation" science and engineering standards.


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buy one get one2 Our special back-to-school offer on eGFI magazines has been extended for the month of September! For every magazine you purchase, you get one free. So, if you buy two magazines, you get two free. If you buy 200, you get 200 free.

Here's how: When you make a magazine purchase in our online store, the form asks how you heard of us. Simply type "Back-to-School" in the "Other" box. We'll know to double your magazine purchase at no extra cost to you--even for shipping.


This offer is only valid with purchases of magazines (fourth edition) and doesn't include our classroom kits and introductory classroom kits. The offer ends September 30.


Learn more about our exciting new fifth edition of eGFI coming out this fall!


About the eGFI Teachers' Newsletter


Delivered each week to your email inbox, our newsletter is packed with lesson plans and activities, resources, feature stories, and the latest developments in K-12 engineering education. eGFI is part of the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE), a non-profit organization committed to enhancing efforts to improve STEM and engineering education.   

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