Death-Defying Cockroaches


Have you ever wondered how scientists and engineers come up with new products or new ways of doing things? Often, they look to nature for inspiration. Use the resources on this esheet to help you learn more about how scientists and engineers observe nature for answers to problems they’re trying to solve.


Begin your exploration by watching a brief video called Death-Defying Cockroaches Build Better Bots about how scientists are studying cockroaches to develop robots that can fit and move in tiny spaces. 

As you watch this video, you should answer these questions on your Death-Defying Cockroaches student sheet.

  • According to this video, why is it so hard to kill a cockroach?
  • How did researchers study how cockroaches move?
  • What did the researchers discover when they filmed the cockroaches?
  • What were the researchers able to develop based on their observations of the cockroaches?
  • What features of the robot help it to compress and move?

Now go to AskNature, which is a catalog of nature’s solutions to human design challenges. Once there, choose “Move/Stay Put” from the Explore by Function menu. Once to that page, choose “Move” and then "In/on solids," which has 67 different organisms. You should scroll through the different functions until you find one that interests you. Then you can click on that function to get more information about it.

This esheet is a part of the Death-Defying Cockroaches lesson.

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