Below you will find everything you need to run a successful design challenge from contest details to NGSS-aligned curriculum. Watch the intro video here. (Video for new challenge year to be uploaded by October)
We recommend starting with the Program Handbook. Please also make sure to read Official Rules if you plan to submit student work for awards consideration.
2021 - 2022 YDC Curriculum
If you’re new to us, the Youth Design Challenge serves as a bridge from core concepts to advanced project-focused learning for students. We equip learners with the tools they need to solve the world’s pressing problems using the teachings of nature.
Our challenge provides a framework for educators of all types to introduce biomimicry as a lens for exploration and problem solving — within and beyond the classroom. It sparks curiosity and ingenuity in middle and high school students, turning learners into makers.
One of the significant changes this year is that the curriculum will be available to all educators, not only those who have signed up for access to the resources. All educators that are wanting to incorporate biomimicry into their classrooms will now be able to do so without registering.
Another change is to the MIMIC lessons. We feel the updated lessons have a smoother transition and there are clearer support opportunities throughout. This was done to give educators an easier way to incorporate biomimicry into their classrooms. Each section of the MIMIC framework has been rewritten with the educator and students in mind.
The 2022 challenge will open up the scope to all of the Sustainable Design Goals (SDGs) and let students choose which goal they would like to pursue based on their interest. We wanted to give choices on whether climate change was the most pressing issue in students’ immediate communities or if there were other problems for which they would be more inspired to create solutions. The renewed version of the YDC will allow students to design with all areas of sustainable goals available to them.
Step 1: MOTIVATE
Get inspired! Motivate your students by exploring biomimicry. Discover how the unique abilities of organisms help them to survive and thrive.
Design Brief 2022
+ Biomimicry Example Slides / Case Studies
+ Notice and Wonder
+ Two Viewpoints of a Tree
+ Language of Biomimicry
+ AN Scavenger Hunt
+ Exploring Function in Nature / Function Junction Cards
Step 2: INVESTIGATE
Investigate the causes and effects of a sustainability problem you would like to solve. Identify the impact your solution will need to have to address the problem effectively.
Step 3: MATCH
Explore how nature has solved problems similar to yours by matching what you need your design to do with organisms that have similar abilities.
Step 4: INNOVATE
Create a biomimicry innovation to help solve a selected problem. Refine your innovation after evaluating its strengths and weaknesses.