VERSO learners win award at Biomimicry Institute’s Youth Design Challenge

VERSO students (L to R): Sarankorn P., Achiraya L., and Nichchamon A. with their winning EROSO helmet prototype that won them third place in the International High School category of the Biomimicry Institute's 2022-2023 Youth Design Challenge (YDC)

VERSO International School achieved a remarkable accomplishment as their high school students secured third place in the International High School category of the Biomimicry Institute’s 2022-2023 Youth Design Challenge (YDC). The award was announced on 24 May 2023.

The Biomimicry Institute, based in Montana, United States, is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting nature-inspired solutions for a healthier planet. One of its initiatives in the YDC, an open-access experience that guides middle and high school teachers and students through a project-based curriculum centered around biomimicry, which draws inspiration from nature to solve problems in regenerative ways.

Now in its sixth year, the YDC received a record 177 submissions from 16 countries and addressed a wide array of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Students must choose one SDG to address and solve a related problem through an iterative design process, engaging with nature from a new perspective.

VERSO student’s design: The EROSO helmet

VERSO students, Sarankorn P., G11, Achiraya L., G11, and Nichchamon A., G10, proposed a unique nature-inspired idea to solve a local design challenge: the EROSO helmet. They chose the SDG3 Goal of “Good Health and Well-being” to design a helmet that not only meets safety standards but also provides better ventilation, comfort, hygiene, and protection. Their design was inspired by three living organisms: the Saiga antelope for better ventilation, the Bighorn sheep for protection and shock absorption in case of accidents, and the Saharan Silver ant for comfort and maintaining a cool temperature inside and outside the helmet.

“Statistics in Thailand show that 21% of motorcyclists do not wear helmets due to discomfort and poor ventilation, which leads to more traffic accidents resulting in death,” Pu explains. According to Peachy, the team studied the behavior, appearance, body parts, and factors that may have influenced the behavior or appearance of the three organisms at their time.

“We embarked on a thorough research process, examining in depth the behavior, appearance, and other relevant factors of the selected organisms. This comprehensive understanding enabled us to transfer the organisms’ features effectively to our helmet design. By combining biomimicry principles with our problem-solving approach, we were able to create a helmet that addressed the comfort and safety concerns of motorcyclists,” Nicky said.

Teacher’s pride and VERSO’s educational approach

Their coach and teacher, Chrissy Nagle shared how she and the teachers are proud of the students.

“We are really proud of how they have shown excellent teamwork and great resilience throughout the process. This shows what VERSO is all about – biomimicry is about being a citizen designer using nature as inspiration to solve human problems.”

VERSO International School in Bangkok follows the American curriculum and embraces project-based learning (PBL) as the central approach to teaching as it engages students in real-world, meaningful projects that encourage critical thinking, collaboration, and problem-solving skills. The success of Team 2PN in the YDC exemplifies the efficacy of this educational approach in nurturing creative and innovative thinkers and creating powerful learning experiences that promote individual growth and academic achievement.

For more details on this award, please click here.

Press Release

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