Biotrail project inspires teachers to bring biomimetics to kids. These paintings, made by Sammonlahti school teacher Kaisa Tanhola, are the first step. Here is her story.
When I learnt that there is a biotrail near the university, I went there to explore it. Info boards were interesting to me, and I thought they would be interesting to my fifth-grade pupils. I decided to make a bike tour with them on the nature trail. I made a notebook with questions related to the boards so pupils will have to stop, read, and really understand things. Later together with Kati Koikkalainen from LUT Junior University we started to develop it into a task for third grade pupils. The bike tour with my class became a pilot trip for this task and we tested how the boards and questions work together. The pupils liked the nature trail and the questions, however, perhaps the best part for them was grilling sausages at the nearby grill places near the wind turbine.
The trip made it clear that the texts on the boards were a bit difficult for kids to understand. And so the idea have started to develop. We decided to make videos where kids explain biomimetics to kids and make them available via QR codes next to existing boards. This way kids visiting the biotrail will have an opportunity to both read the text on the boards and watch the videos.
I had done a quick set of illustrations for the first biotrail tour with my class. I wanted to make better illustrations for the official notebook made together with LUT Junior University, so I have started to make new paintings. I like drawing a lot, therefore it was fun for me. I looked for suitable pictures on the web and used them as a model for my paintings. I chose watercolors, because their transparency creates an opportunity to make deep layered images. One picture after another and soon the notebook was ready.
The notebook is coming soon. Having it and the QR codes will allow anyone to create a biotrail anywhere!