Early Childhood Programs Blog

Biomimicry: A Day of Color

May 14, 2018 - Earth Friends, Preschool


Today was our last class before Mother’s Day so we hoped to surprise our moms with origami flowers.  We made two different types of flowers, starting with the more complicated one.  This was a craft we had hoped to do a few weeks back when learning about how leaves fit into buds but we ran out of time, which worked out well because it turned into a Mother’s Day gift!  Our first flower was an iris.  We went through the folds together and after about 15 minutes of work we created a single iris flower for our bouquet.  We added more to our bouquet by folding simple tulip flowers and then adding green pipe cleaner stems.  The link to the iris origami is here: http://www.origami-instructions.com/origami-lily.html

After our bouquets were complete, we stored them in a bag for safe keeping until the end of class.  The rest of the afternoon we spent looking for flowers, taking pictures, journaling and exploring.  We started in the Woodland Garden.  With a lot of the native plants in bloom, it was a beautiful place to explore, play and journal.  Our task was to choose two plants.  They could be next to each other or far apart, it didn’t matter, and we were to compare and contrast them with at least two sentences and two images.  We all found our own spot and drew some plants, writing down things we noticed about the plants that were the same or different between the two we were looking at.  Some of our comparisons and contrasts were between the shape of the leaves, the size of the plans, whether it had hairs or not, the color of the stem and more.  After exploring the garden and permanently taking a part of it home in the form of a journal entry it was time to explore.  I had some cameras on hand that everyone was allowed to use to take pictures with.  We also rolled over rocks looking for animals, especially snakes since ring-necked snakes have been seen in the Woodland Garden before (and guess what, we found two!).  Also, check out the gallery below for pictures taken by the kids!

Our next spot was the stream, bridge, skunk cabbage wetland and seven sycamore tree.  We spent some time walking carefully down the stream and among the skunk cabbage where Mrs. Avril found an old box turtle shell (Noa is holding it in a picture below).  After swinging on the vines and climbing in the tree, we walked over to the Native American Longhouse.  Here we all sat down and enjoyed any snack that was left.  We also used the camera to take a picture of the American robin nest in the longhouse.  The one that we had discovered a few weeks back was missing its eggs and it looked like something had tampered with it.  You can see what the nest looks like now down in the gallery.  While in the longhouse we learned about a new biomimicry connection and this one was very colorful.  After seeing all the beautiful blooms in the Woodland Garden we thought it would be perfect to learn about an animal that has inspired people by its color.  The blue morpho butterfly is a stunning butterfly and it has special “scales” on its wings that interact with light in a cool way.  When the light hits its scales it refracts and scatters and then remixes with other light forming amazing colors.  This interaction with light inspired the design of the Museum at Prairiefire in Overland Park, Kansas.  Another cool butterfly is the called the rose butterfly and it is native to Southeast Asia.  Like all insects, this butterfly is cold-blooded but it has, over time, evolved to have a more efficient way to absorb heat.  Butterflies need to be a certain temperature before they can fly.  A butterfly being able to heat itself quicker gives it an edge.  This animal’s adaptation has inspired people to create more efficient solar panels!  You can read more about both of the butterflies in the following links:

Blue Morpho: https://asknature.org/strategy/wing-scales-cause-light-to-diffract-and-interfere/#.WvIFaogvyHs

Rose Butterfly: https://www.theverge.com/2017/10/19/16503258/butterfly-wings-engineering-solar-cell-energy-biomimicry

Today was a laid back day where we got to explore the wonders of color in nature.  It was a chance for us to go a bit slower and appreciate how beautiful nature is and hopefully interact with nature in new ways and discover amazing things!  We ended the day with a group photo below.  Check out our gallery below for a lot of pictures!

From left to right: empty robins nest, origami, exploring the woodland garden. Third row and on are all pictures taken by the kids: unidentified plant, wild geranium, spring anenome, yellow wood poppy, unidentified flower, common blue violet, foam flower, may apple blossom, view of the meadow, skunk cabbage, swinging on vines, playing in the seven sycamore tree, robins nest in the longhouse.