“I could not have spent my time any better than this. In an age where we have the NGSS directing us to think about teaching science differently and when we have industries saying we need students who have learned differently, this curriculum and the professional development provided tools for addressing both of those forces.”

Dr. Brett Criswell, College of Education, University of Kentucky

“The Center for Learning with Nature has given me a powerful tool to help students unlock their potential engineering and design capacities. Our school uses the entire Engineering Inspired by Nature curriculum. It is the culminating course of our Environmental Science class as it allows our seniors to synthesize their prior knowledge in all the sciences and apply it to  technological or societal challenges using top notch engineering and design principles. The curriculum is an inspiring and empowering way for students to see the problems of today and create the innovative solutions for tomorrow. Our students finish the course feeling more confident and inspired in their move toward college and see the sciences and engineering fields as new possibilities.”

Ms. Tiffany Roberts, Earth Science, Biology, Chemistry, Credo High School, California

“This course has been, without a doubt, my most absolute favorite course we’ve had at school so far! I wish we could have it all year like we have math. The lessons were so unbelievably fascinating! I loved getting to learn about so many amazing, remarkable creatures and learning how certain things work. I’ve noticed that I’m more aware of the products and technologies we use and the way things, human-made and in nature, function. Overall, I enjoyed the class immensely and took so much away from it.”

Ashlynn, high school junior

“I cannot tell you how excited I am to integrate this curriculum into my classes. And the fact that this curriculum is turnkey will make it much easier for me. This curriculum ticks so many boxes for me. Critical thinking skills, project based learning, engineering design, creativity, interdisciplinary,  STEM/STEAM, environmental sustainability, prototyping, etc. This curriculum is a perfect example of 21st century education.”

Mr. Brian Hoover, Technical Design Instructor, Hellgate High School, Missoula, Montana

“I absolutely plan to use this in my classroom. I’ve been a little daunted by the requirement of including engineering into my courses, and I really like the way this curriculum builds on itself to break big, abstract ideas and processes into something more manageable. I can’t wait to go back and share!”

Ms. Joye Beth Spinks, Ohio County High School, Kentucky

“I thought that the course was extremely fascinating. I enjoyed learning about the extent to which we can apply nature to humankinds’ problems. I would say that this course has influenced me in that I now realize that science can be as ingeniously creative as it is methodical and about experimentation. Before this class I typically thought of science as all experiments and equations or discoveries. Biomimietics opened up a different side of science for me.”

Natalie, high school junior

“This course will be better, more useful and applied than any other college level courses in engineering taught at high schools.”

Dr. Mariappan Jawaharlal, Professor of Mechanical Engineering, California State Polytechnic University

“Sam has put together an amazing and engaging curriculum. My students LOVE it! As a special educator, the visuals in the materials and the hands-on activities were the best. And as a non-science teacher, being able to implement a science course speaks volumes to how thorough the materials are. What you have written is so clear and easy to follow. And as a person, the way I see nature and technology is forever changed.  I find the information so interesting and fun that the students pick up on my energy too.  ‘Wait till you try this… or hear about this!!’ I had them reflect in a journal on the dismantling project – one of them wrote, ‘The best project I’ve done at school.’ He’s a senior!  And one of the girls completely took apart one of the cell phones and none of the boys could duplicate what she had done – she’s still walking a few inches off the ground! All of these little daily steps will build awareness in this generation and lead to bigger steps in the future.  Your curriculum and my instruction are making that knowledge both accessible and challenging to students who live on or below the poverty line, teaching them to think critically and globally.”

Liz Collins-Adam, Boston Green Academy, Boston, Massachusetts

“Since beginning our class I have been looking at the world differently and I can see the possibilities that Earth gives us. The course was amazing, don’t change anything.”

Max, high school junior

“This was, by far, the BEST online PD I have ever experienced—and I have participated in many over the years. This class has DEFINITELY changed the way I see the world.”

Bridget Lewin, M. Ed, UC Santa Barbara, Science Education Consultant for all Elementary Teachers (K-6th grade) within the Santa Barbara Unified School District

“I feel that this class has offered me a mind blowing professional development experience!  A tsunami inside me is bursting to share all that I learned in our class with my students.  The curriculum was fantastic! Very well organized and easily accessible. I echo what everyone shared about this experience, you, and the content of our class – IT WAS AMAZING! Thank you!”

Lillian Ortiz, IC Community School, Oakland, CA

“I loved the course, not only did it open my eyes and mind to new ideas, but it stimulated my imagination. So good!”

Nadia, high school senior

“This PD was a wealth of information. It was probably the best bridge between the ‘content’ NGSS standards and the engineering practices that I have seen to date.”

Laryssa Cybriwsky, 6th Grade and 8th Grade Integrated Science, Eminence Independent School, Eminence, KY

“Unlike any other – in a great way! It encouraged me to think in a completely different way and made me get excited about sharing biomimicry with my students. Outstanding use of my summer break time. I can’t say that about most PD opportunities.”

Heidi Thompson-Abell, K-5 STEM Lab, Squires Elementary, Lexington, KY

“This was a fantastic course. I learned a lot and am now really inspired to follow along this path. The final project gave me a new goal in life.”

Mandy, high school sophomore

“I honestly have a hard time with online courses and rarely can finish them but this biomimicry course was so captivating. I didn’t want to miss a minute because the information shared was so rich and continuously inspired new ideas. This course is the most delicious meal for the mind and it comes with my highest recommendations. It was so refreshing to see how an online course can be so engaging and successfully facilitated.”

Marika Ramsden, program developer, Westminster Wood Environmental Education, Summerfield Waldorf School, Santa Rosa

“I thought that the course opened new doors for me into the future and for my generation. It taught me to be more clearer in how I see the things around me now. It influenced me to be more creative and careful in our world.”

Nick, high school senior

“I feel even more educated on the subject and appreciative of how these products work and why nature is so good at what it does. I feel more inspired to make a change.”

Isabelle, high school junior

“This was one of the most inspiring PD opportunities I have participated in.  My mind is exploding with good things!  I think this is a great springboard to engage students in science, across the grade levels and to provide integrated learning across the content areas.  The focus on design process is especially applicable to Engineering and NGSS.  It also supports and encourages a way of looking and noticing that is key to environmental education.”

Rosie Slentz, Humboldt County Office of Education, Eureka, CA

“This material supports engineering education fabulously in that it provides easy access for students to begin design thinking. Generating ideas for designs can be overwhelming for some kids. This path allows students to draw inspiration from the abundant ingenuity of nature, giving them a feeling of awe and a sense of place as they learn from the best adaptors on the planet. Students, especially those in cities, can access nature’s wonder from the classroom with this approach to teaching engineering. I now have the foundation I need to develop this curriculum for my students at Blue School. I’m very excited to begin this journey!”

Rob Gilson, Blue School, NY

“The curriculum directly addresses NGSS standards and strands and encourages students to closely examine and appreciate the genius of nature.  I especially appreciated the simplicity of the “5 to Thrive” paradigm for assessing design sustainability and will be incorporating it into my course. Thank you for the work you have done and continue to do.  You are providing an invaluable service to educators.”

Simone Ferdinand, Carrollwood Day School, Tampa, FL

“This was an excellent class, far exceeding my expectations. The material very much supports STEM. I took a PD workshop the following week, which emphasized NGSS, and learned how much Biomimicry promotes the new standards. In NGSS, engineering is listed on nearly every major topic. Students are encouraged to incorporate engineering in nearly every aspect of their learning. And this is exactly what Biomimicry does. It also encourages students to want to learn more about the environment so as to use their newfound knowledge to solve some of today’s problems. I truly enjoyed the class, and I already miss sitting at my kitchen table waiting for class to begin.”

Andrea Durbin, West Babylon Senior High School, Islip Terrace, NY

“Loved this! Thanks for reminding me of my love of nature and science, and thanks for the awesome connection that technology and nature can come together and create this beautiful outcome.”

Principal Jennifer Allen, Orangewood Elementary, Greenfield, CA

“I liked this unit because there were some very cool things and it was interesting. I really like this last thing where you create things. I like doing these more independent things. I also think that it is cool that nature inspired so many things. It was fun and exciting the whole time.”

Oscar, 5th grade

“The nature-inspired engineering unit was just what my students and I needed to take our STEM class to the next level. By looking to nature for ideas to solve human challenges, we are able to not only do our STEM work but also connect with the natural world which is exactly where we want our students to be. The material is a perfect match for my  nature based STEM classes which feed into the NGSS engineering standards for our students’ report cards.  I am thrilled to have the resources provided by The Center for Learning with Nature and I am excited to share them with more STEM teachers in our area.”

Jodi Sikma, Hamilton Elementary School, Hamilton, MI

“One of the most important skills students can learn to prepare them for the world is to ask their own questions. We know students are engaged in important curriculum when what they are doing in school mirrors what professionals would be doing in the workplace. The Engineering Inspired by Nature unit allowed my fifth-grade students to do this and practice higher-level thinking skills. Not only are my students better at recognizing the amazing talents of nature around them, but they are also able to make connections between these natural talents and how they can attend to human challenges. As a teacher, it is nice to know the lessons I teach are directly connected to the NGSS and, even more, that my students were actively engaged in every one of the investigations. I highly recommend this curricular unit to any 3rd – 6th grade classroom or specialized teacher!”

Diane Bradford, Lincoln Elementary, Iowa City, IA

“It was a cool unit. It changes my thinking about nature.”

Conner, 5th grade

“I appreciate that Engineering Inspired by Nature is constructive to support NGSS thinking skills. Learners who use Engineering Inspired by Nature are practicing so many important skills that can build on each other like observation, metacognition, research, and design. These are skills that cannot be acquired in a lesson, worksheet, or test. Central to NGSS is the use of phenomena to drive curiosity. It was wonderful to experience that phenomena was in the curve of tree roots! I also really appreciated the activities online. They make me think of so many things that I can do with my learners to keep them engaged.”

Mia Kang, middle school engineering and science, Highly Gifted Magnet, Tarzana, CA

“The week long professional learning session on the topic on innovation inspired by Nature was akin to an awakening. The lessons learned brought out in me a greater appreciation for the natural world, and all its wonder and awesomeness into sharper focus. It was as if I was looking, but not seeing the magic happening every day, every season around me. The two frameworks “challenge to biology” and “biology to design” will forever transform that way in which I apply design thinking for problem-solving in my personal and professional practice. Suffice to say, I will be sharing what I have learned with any of my colleagues who are willing to listen! I look forward to using my knowledge to revise the engineering design outcomes for the curriculum development work I am doing as well as sharing what I have learned with Canadian educators. It was an epic learning experience.”

Janice Williams, Learning Specialist, Science K-12 Unit, Department of Education, Government of New Brunswick, Canada

“This unit was pretty cool. It’s a lot more fun than doing just normal engineering.”

Lucas, 5th grade

“Some of the activities are truly aha moments, like the concrete, solar cell, and photoelastic activities.  I am likely to adopt the lens of bio-inspired design in everything I teach from now on.”

John Baglio, middle school computer science, The Ethical Culture Fieldston School, Bronx, NY

“Eye opening experience to activities, ideas and techniques that I can use immediately in my classroom! Extremely beneficial and supportive. Worthwhile experience for educators and thank you for offering this professional development, it was really a priceless experience for me as a teacher!”

Jessica Moser, high school biology, Blacklick Valley School District, Cambria County, PA

“What was most interesting for me was how it changed how I think of nature, because now when I observe something in nature, I start to think about how we could apply that to human life.”

Estelle, 5th grade

“I’m someone that does not have a background in engineering that has found themselves teaching an engineering course. This course really helped accomplish two things for me; in particular ground my understanding of biology to the concepts of engineering as well as reinforce that an engineering mindset can be approached at a variety of different origin points. This second point is incredibly powerful in teaching a diverse set of students. Every student can be an engineering student.”

Michael Czapczynski, Honors Biology 11th grade and PLTW environmental sustainability 11th and 12th grade, Cedar Creek High School, Egg Harbor City, New Jersey

“This was one of the best professional development opportunities I have participated in. I really liked that we went outside, worked on projects and in small groups. I feel well prepared to implement the curriculum in my Life Science and Biology classes. I commend you and everyone that was involved in the development of this curriculum. This will be a game changer.”

Steven Clarke, 7th Grade Life Science and High School Biology, Savannah Chatham County Public Schools, Savannah, Georgia

“Excellent professional development experience! I will be recommending it to my colleagues. By completing this class remotely, it helped to visualize how I might teach it that way this year.”

Amy Riggs, 5th-6th grade-Science, Social Studies, ELA, Centre Learning Community Charter School, State College, Pennsylvania

“I feel grateful that I have gotten such insight into how to bring engineering into my teaching. Before when I saw it as such a big part of the NGSS standards, I was intimidated as to how to go about incorporating it, since I’ve never had any education or training in engineering.  Now it seems cool and can be simplified and easily incorporated.”

Fiana Shapiro, Sandia Mountain Natural History Center, Albuquerque, New Mexico

“I am thrilled with all that I have learned! There is so much interaction with fellow participants–each of the trainings I have experienced have been enhanced by the openness Sam models to encourage everyone to contribute and ask questions. Every single comment or question was deeply listened to, addressed, and then added onto by Sam. He has a way of encouraging curiosity and meeting the needs of all learners with this PD. His own demeanor and sense of curiosity, knowledge and excitement for biomimicry infuses his lessons with intellectual rigor, flexible thinking, experiential education, and joy!”

Bridget Lewin, Lecturer, Environmental Studies Program, University of California, Santa Barbara, CA

“I am very happy that I signed up for this PD. While I have a background in environmental education, I have no formal education or experience in teaching engineering; this curriculum is relevant and helpful for both of my clubs. I think nature-inspired design supports environmental education really well, and I am excited to implement this curriculum!”

Stephanie Parascandolo, Nature club and STEAM club teacher, Meridian International School, Prague, Czech Republic