Six week teaching pack: Biomimicry


With our new Key Stage 4 (KS4) specifications, many teachers are asking us what they can start teaching from September 2015.

So we’ve put together a free science resource – a six week teaching pack to help you bridge the gap between your KS3 and KS4 science students.

It covers GCSE science and other KS4 science qualifications and gives you the tools you need to get started, from classroom presentations to lesson plans to homework activities and practical investigations.

Download it now and sign up for updates so you’re the first to know when we produce more KS4 science teaching resources.


The pack is a collection of teaching ideas and student-facing resources (all of which were specifically commissioned), on the overarching theme of Biomimicry.

Biomimicry was chosen as it's an exciting area of research that extends across scientific disciplines using inspiration from nature to help scientists solve contemporary problems. The pack aims to bridge the gap between what students will have studied at KS3 (e.g. energy transfer, chemical reactions and photosynthesis) and areas studied at GCSE (e.g. nanotechnology, nerve impulses and forces).

It's planned as a six-week unit of work (18 lessons). Included are:

  • starter, main and plenary activities
  • practical investigations
  • suggestions for differentiation and extension of activities
  • suggested assessment opportunities
  • resources to develop mathematical skills and understanding
  • differentiated weekly homework activities
  • links to areas of current research and scientists.

It's arranged lesson by lesson, with several suggested starters, main and plenary activities. It lends itself to a ‘pick and mix’ approach; choose from the suggested activities most appropriate for your students. The resources are all available in adaptable formats, making it easy to differentiate the tasks by ability.

The practical investigations are all designed to use materials and equipment that are easy to resource. They could be extended into more substantial investigations.

To help with navigation, there's a contents table which summarises the resources found in each lesson. Included are several interactive resources, to access these please go to

Resources summary

Week 1

LessonWhat the presentation and guide contain
Introduction to biomimicry
Introduction to biomimicry — starter activities
Trying to fly: making a model of Cayley’s glider
Units and equations
Week 1 homework
Large and small prefixes
Large and small prefixes (interactive whiteboard version)*
Powers of ten
What is nanoscience and technology?
Developments in microscopy
Important developments in microscopy
Different types of modern microscope

*To access please go to

Week 2

LessonWhat the presentation and guide contain
Things that glow in the dark
Using fluorescence — background information
Fluorescent chemicals
Week 2 homework
What can we learn from termite mounds?
Odd one out
What can we learn from termite mounds?
Cross section of a termite mound
What’s special about a lotus leaf?
What’s special about a lotus leaf?
Magnification activity

Week 3

LessonWhat the presentation and guide contain
Spiny–headed worms and skin grafts
Interviewing the professor
Week 3 homework
Water cycle
Water cycle (interactive whiteboard version)*
World’s population and water
Freshwater in deserts
Freshwater in deserts
Questions and answers

*To access please go to

Week 4

LessonWhat the presentation and guide contain
Neural networks
The brain — true or false?
Neural networks
A brief history of neural networks
Week 4 homework
Mussel adhesive
How do mussels stick?
How do mussels stick? (interactive whiteboard version)*
Making a glue
Comparing mussel strength
Tardigrades and vaccines
The problems with vaccines
Tardigrades under the microscope

*To access please go to


Week 5

LessonWhat the presentation and guide contain
The Bombardier beetle
Scientist — who’s who?
Charles Darwin and the Bombardier beetle
Week 5 homework activity
Wind turbine blades
Wind turbine blades
Investigation – comparing designs for a helicopter blade
Silk moths and chitin
Silk moths and chitin
Comparing polymers
Maths and measuring volume
Match the Greek word with its meaning

Week 6

LessonWhat the presentation and guide contain
Artificial photosynthesis (1)
Artificial photosynthesis (2)
Artificial photosynthesis —starter
Is chlorophyll the only pigment in green leaves?
Artificial photosynthesis – obstacles to overcome
What am I?
A new look at wood
A new look at wood
Comparing concrete and wood
Cellulose and other materials