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Students design bio-inspired ideas to provide climate crisis solutions

June 11, 2020

Despite a school year disrupted by the pandemic, teams of students from across the nation submitted a host of ideas in the latest Biomimicry Institute’s Youth Design Challenge (YDC). The YDC brings the process of nature-inspired design into the classroom of middle and high school students, who collaborate in teams to solve sustainability problems using nature as a guide.

Winning teams this year included a concept for a building material that would condense water from nighttime air and collect it on the surface as an evaporative cooling system for buildings, termed the “Moist Brick”; an alternative to concrete barriers to protect cyclists and pedestrians from vehicles, called “A Concrete Solution”; the “Dome Home” that incorporates inspiration from multiple organisms to design a home that could withstand extreme weather in the Caribbean; and more.

In its third year, the YDC utilizes math, engineering, physics, architecture and design through a project-based learning program that reached 6,000 students across the U.S., with 60 projects submitted to the competition.