Unit Overview

Youth use the Engineering Design Process to design bags inspired by camouflage, protection, and bioluminescence in nature. 

  • Grades 6–8  
  • Setting: Out of school 
  • Science connection: Adaptation 
  • 8 activities 
  • 50–60 Minutes per activity

Standards alignment

We’ve developed each EiE unit with careful attention to educational standards in both science and technology/engineering. View Standards Alignments.

Unit Map

Youth are introduced to engineering as they work in groups to engineer a model home inspired by animal shelters.
Youth define technology and investigate fabrics through the lens of a materials engineer.
Youth design patterns to camouflage a piece of fabric for scientific researchers who need to blend into a forest.
Youth engineer protective gear for a roller derby client that is inspired by the diverse ways that animals protect themselves.
Youth engineer a switch to turn on an LED light inspired by bioluminescence for a client who is a spy.
Youth identify one of four clients for whom they will design a bioinspired pack or bag and create their design.
Youth improve their bag or pack, making sure it meets their client’s criteria and constraints.
Youth communicate their work to visitors.


Special Report Video

Introduces the field of materials engineering through a visit to a zoo and a clothing company to learn about how new textile designs can be engineered using inspiration from nature. Use throughout the unit. (10:21)

What's Included?

  • Educator Guide (PDF)
  • Engineering Journal (PDF)
  • Special Report Video (YouTube)
  • Print Materials (PDF)