Problems are like sticker burrs.
They poke. They prick.
… but sometimes, writes Elin Kelsey, these problems spark marvelous ideas. For example, the hooks on burrs inspired one scientist to develop velcro.
So what can we learn from nature, she asks. If squirrels can learn to cross roads by watching people, what can people learn from watching squirrels? Some animals create safe “thinking areas” before tackling a new situation, while others dive right in. Some animals use tools to gather food, some use group strategies to hunt prey, and some learn survival lessons from their parents and elders.
I like Kelsey’s encouragement for us to “untame” our imaginations. She gives wonderful examples of animals doing things we least expect: counting, calculating, inventing… and even observing people to learn things, like when it’s safe to cross a street.
I also like the three-dimensional dioramas that Soyeon Kim created for illustrating the book. The burrs are huge and detailed, and she tucks children into unlikely places: a gorilla nest, fishing with whales, hunting with hyenas. What fun!
There will always be problems that need solving, but if we open our eyes (and our minds) we might find answers in the natural world. Check out some “beyond the book” activities over at Archimedes Notebook
It’s STEM Friday! (STEM is Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics)
Copyright © 2015 Sue Heavenrich All Rights Reserved.