Nature is our biggest teacher and this week the students learnt just that. Humans have always knowingly or unknowingly looked at nature for inspiration for designs.
This intense three day workshop began with students trying to draw a parallel between trees and our houses. With simple examples of similarities, they slowly got the gist of where the conversation was heading. Next, they understood how humans more often than not looked at elements in nature to understand their design to further their function. One of the best examples here- the fish and the boat.
The students were then sent off on a scavenger hunt around the E-Base to connect human innovations to their respective inspirations from nature.
To better understand the intrinsic relationship of design and function as is found in nature and other human innovations, the students played a blindfold game. They each had a partner and who handed them an object which they had to describe. According to the description of the object, they were to come up with its possible uses. Just the way humans have made a specific design for a specific function, similarly nature too has adapted this strategy- which in fact we have copied at many instances.
With a clear understanding of design and function, we set off on a nature trail around the E-Base the next day to look at nature and draw inspiration from its unique design.
Every design in nature serves some purpose, be it, protection of seeds, attracting pollinators or escaping or trapping prey. Once the students had listed their observations in their group, the were ready for the big task.
Each group was to come up with a design inspired by the natural designs they had observed the previous day on their nature trail.
This was a real test of their extent of understanding and application. And let us tell you, we were not let down! Right from shoes inspired by the Cheetal Deer’s feet to a compartmentalized box inspired by the ‘phalli’ of a tree- the students did us proud!
At the end our fun weekend, the students learnt about nature’s concept of ‘Zero waste’. If we’re imitating nature, we may as well adopt this very imperative principle!