The Challenge

Our Youth Design Challenge is a free, project-based learning experience that asks middle and high school students from around the world to solve the planet's most pressing problems using strategies inspired by nature.

The Challenge provides educators of all types with a framework to introduce biomimicry as an interdisciplinary lens for exploration and problem solving — within and beyond the classroom. As the bridge from core concepts to advanced, project-focused learning, the Youth Design Challenge also sparks curiosity and ingenuity in students, turning learners into nature-inspired makers.

Now in its fourth year, the Youth Design Challenge is reaching more students than ever, andas you'll seethe submissions are nothing short of incredible.

2021 Highlights

The Youth Design Challenge proved to be exceptionally popular in 2021. Despite the continued effects of the pandemic, 471 educators registered to view the YDC resources on the Biomimicry website (up 10% over 2020 and 130% over 2019).

Student reach of these resources was our highest ever, at over 4,000.

Participation proved to be an even more positive outcome, which we are very proud of:

Challenge Submissions: +60% over 2020 / +30% over 2019

Coaches: +80% over 2020 / +50% over 2019

“Watching the group work together as a team and produce such a well thought out final product has been exhilarating. Your design challenge encouraged enthusiasm, dedication and a contagious love of learning among our team."

- Jennifer Richardson, coach (MorphoBrick)

Problem Definition Award: MorphoBrick

A building material, inspired by the Morpho butterfly, that can absorb or reflect heat depending on the temperature. Fryeburg, Maine

Middle School Winners

Changemaker Award: Teardrop Residence

This amphibious shelter protects residents living within flood prone areas and was inspired by swordfishes, sea otters, box-patterned geckos, and beavers. Palo Alto, California, USA

Problem Definition Award: Project RED

A maple seed inspired device that combats deforestation by making it easier to replant trees. Redwood City, California, USA

Youth Design Challenge Winners Gallery

“The Youth Design Challenge is superior to any STEM curriculum I have observed in my career as a public-school teacher." - Youth Design Challenge coach