Blue Blocks, a K-12 school in Hyderabad, inaugurated a first-of-its-kind Biomimicry Lab within the school premises to encourage primary school children to understand, experiment, and learn using nature as inspiration. Children are born nature lovers. It’s nature which nurtures the young brains the most. They are born with this naturalistic intelligence, which needs to be nurtured. Pavan Goyal, the founder and head of Blue Blocks, says, “We are always looking for ways to ensure that our education doesn’t stay just within the books and instead is symbiotic with the world around them. And especially in today’s world, understanding, protecting and living with nature are amongst the most important lessons that we need to teach our children.”
The children inaugurated the Biomimicry Hive by creating a Seed Bank where 100 different kinds of seeds were collected by them. The seeds were then sun-dried to preserve them, and stored in seed jars. Each jar is catalogued with information about the seed name, best seasons to grow, the life span of the plant and favourable conditions and places where the seeds can be found in.
The Biomimicry Hive, a hexagonal space inspired by beehives, will have activities that will encourage children to explore, study, research, and find answers to current and future problems using nature. Here is where children learn observation and journaling skills, understand the interdependencies and interconnections in the nature, find patterns, have sensorial awareness, empathy, curiosity, investigative ability, along with an enquiring, reasoning and critical thinking mind.
Prof. Srikar, Department of Design at IIT Hyderabad, worked along with the Blue Blocks team to design the space, inspiration being a beehive, which actually portrays biomimicry itself. “The space should ignite a sense of curiosity and a sense of discovery among children. Also aid them to observe nature more deeply to harness solutions for day to day problems. This lab will act as a spring board for children at a very young age, to tinker, experiment, build prototypes and learn from nature which will go a long way as they pursue their passion domains in the future,” said Prof. Srikar.
And to complement that, children get to experience them in real at the Blue Blocks Montessori Farm – a vast plantation with diverse flora and fauna. They also get to explore natural spaces in and around the city. According to Sandhya Rao, a biomimicry expert who heads this program at Blue Blocks, “As a part of this program, the children also get to work with expert ornithologists, herpetologists, ecologists, ethologists, botanists, geologists and pedologists, which will open up a completely different way of thinking for them not to mention the exposure it provides.”
Pavan and his team at Blue Blocks are firm believers in the fact that great learning is when one can inculcate curiosity, creativity, enterprise, and problem-solving capabilities – all of which are absolute essential life skills. Here the learning uses nature to inspire innovation. Innovation is the cornerstone and an integral part of the education model at Blue Blocks. The biomimicry corner, called and trademarked ‘Biomimicry Hive’, is part of the larger innovation lab, which has numerous other ventures.