Time needed: 25 minutes
Engineers look at how humans and animals do certain actions when they're deciding what they want their robots to do. This helps engineers think of creative ways to design their robots. Biomimicry is when an engineer makes a robot or machine that looks or acts like a human, animal, or plant.
In this activity, you’ll explore how engineers create robots that look just like us. Then, you’ll design your own robot inspired by a bumblebee!
Part 1: Learn about biomimicry.
First, imagine any kind of robot you’re familiar with. See if you can answer these questions:
A lot of the time, when we think of robots, we picture shiny metal figures that kind of look like humans. They have heads, bodies, arms, and legs, just like us. This is called biomimicry. Biomimicry is when someone makes a machine that looks or acts like a human, animal, or plant.
To see how it works, pretend to be a robot that’s been created with biomimicry! Can you stand up and move like:
Engineers study how humans and animals do certain actions when they're deciding what they want their robots to do. This helps engineers think of creative ways to design their robots. For example, an engineer might sketch how humans form different poses or look at how an animal moves.
To see biomimicry in action, search for videos online!
Part 2: Design a robot inspired by biomimicry.
Next, you’re going to design a robot inspired by a bumblebee. Find a comfortable place to sit outside or inside near a window so that you can be inspired by the nature around you.
First, look at the sky and imagine you’re a bumblebee. Think about all the different things bumblebees do. For example, they fly, make honey, and might sting humans!
Did you know that one of the most important things bumblebees do is pollinate flowers and plants? Pollen is the powdery stuff on a flower that comes off if you touch it. Bees carry the pollen from one plant to another. By moving pollen between plants, bumblebees help plants grow new plants.
Unfortunately, there are many fewer bees today than there were years ago. This is a big problem because we wouldn't have plants or vegetables without bees, and we need them to survive.
So, do you think can you help solve the problem? Create a robot inspired by the bumblebee that can help us pollinate plants.
As you draw your robot, ask yourself questions like:
Here are some ideas to get started on your own design:
Once your design is ready, share it with your family and friends. They can give ideas and feedback to make your design even better!
Great job! You just worked like an engineer to design a robot inspired by a bumblebee. You brainstormed solutions and created a model that features biomimicry. Not only did your robots look like bumblebees, but they also helped do the job of the bumblebee too!
And that’s it! You’ve now completed a step of the Brownie Designing Robots badge! If you had fun doing this, you might want to learn more about robots and design your own with the rest of the Brownie Robotics badges.
Troop Leaders: The instructions for all badge steps are available free of charge in the Girl Scout Volunteer Toolkit.
Girl Scout Activity Zone activities have been adapted from existing Girl Scout programming.