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Creative Learning Sparks - Inspiration from Biology and Ecology

Updated: Apr 18, 2023

Hello creative learning friends! The theme of this week's sparks is "things that remind me how amazing biology & ecology are".

Spark #1 "Bontanigram is a web app developed by Amanda Ghassaei that explores the mathematics and biology of plants through animation. There's a great library of examples and you can upload your own photos too. It made me think about what a great discussion you could have with learners if you were to have them collect their own photos. Which plants work best for this animation exploration and why? What do you notice about the plants that are included in the library of examples?

Screenshot from the Botanigram website

Spark #2 The 3D Pollen Project. This project aims to make high-quality 3D scans/models of pollen grains available for free, for outreach and education. If you're not already intrigued by the image below, be sure to check out their website to learn more about why pollen is actually fascinating! You can view the models online in Sketchfab, and you can download the files if you'd like to print your own through MorphoSource. (side note: MorphoSource has lots of really great data available for both biological specimens and cultural objects). Check out this model from the 3D pollen project that @SarraceniaMason printed:

Spark #3 The Urban Ecology Email Mini-Course from PLIX (Public Library Innovation Exchange). PLIX offers a variety of activities and educator-oriented resources that are designed to support creative learning in libraries. Even if you don't work in a library, their activity guides and resources are worth checking out! I particularly enjoyed this email-based mini course. Each week you get an email that has a nice variety of interesting information, resources, and activity prompts designed to immerse you in the course topic. I loved this one because it encouraged me to take a closer look at, and develop a deeper appreciation for the communities I'm embedded in.

"The ultimate objective of this series is to support learners of all ages to further understand local urban ecology by employing a systems-level, nature-conscious, and playful approach to learning."
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