Biomimicry, the process of using nature to guide innovative thinking and development, can be useful in helping students grasp scientific concepts. Teachers interested in incorporating biomimicry into lesson plans might find that experiential learning at informal science institutions (ISIs) with natural models and artifacts is a valuable tool to accompany classroom learning. Visiting these ISIs, students have the opportunity to observe nature in real time and be immersed in inspiration. As students explore these natural models in habitats and exhibits, educators might ask students to consider the interesting features they observe and to creatively consider innovative designs that these features could inspire. For example, an elephant's trunk might inspire a robotic arm. These direct experiences at ISIs might draw upon students' innate biophilia to learn more about living organisms and lead to increased creativity and design output. I developed this guide based on my experiences as an informal biomimicry educator and my 2017 keynote address presented at the Annual Docent Conference at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo.
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Vol. 83 • No. 2