BioMachine Design Challenge

BioSTEAM Design Tool

The BioSTEAM Design Tool provides the step-by-step process to engage you the student, with the Pollinator Concentrator, a site-specific interspecies installation at the Rio Fernando Park created by BioSTEAM Lab artist, Ana MacArthur. The central theme is biodiversity loss and pollinator decline. Imagine an invention or solution that is inspired by your research about how things work in nature through art, science, technology and culture. Click on each stage below to get started.

    • Explore how the artist applied nature-inspired design to this installation. What is nature-inspired design? What is biomimicry? How do they inform creative design? Meet the experts fron diverse disciplines that are committed to protecting biodiversity in their own way. Learn why conserving biodiversity is pivotal to the health of our planet and our communities.
    • Research how interdisciplinary science and new technologies are helping us understand nature in a new way. Investigate how cutting edge technologies are being used to protect or destroy nature. What is the science behind how pollinators navigate and pollinate? How can this knowledge help you design and to build with nature?
    • Experiment with BioSTEAM activities that will open your mind to new ways of thinking and designing inspired by how things work in science and nature. Here you will have find hands-on activities  to try out.
    • Connect with nature. Visit the installation and Rio Fernando park, physically or virtually to experience it for yourself. Participate in our curated citizen science projects and study your pollinators up close in their natural habitat.
    • Design a pollinator-inspired BIO-MACHINE to share with friends and family to raise awareness to the importance of protecting biodiversity and pollinators. Submit your design to the BioSTEAM Design Challenge.

Explore the artist work and INTERviews

Ana MacArthur makes art that speaks to the relationship between environmental intelligence, the study of light and applied technologies. In Pollinator Concentrator, a site-specific art installation, the artist allows us to reflect on pollinator decline and biodiversity. Pollinators are vital to creating and maintaining the diverse habitats and ecosystems that we and all species rely on for food and shelter. Through a collaboration with local community experts a pollinator garden, sun dial and water catchment system that nourishes local pollinators was integrated into the design.  

      • Explore Ana MacArthur’s Artist Page to see the installation and learn about her concept and process. Get inspired!
      • Watch the INTERviews to hear the inter-disciplinary and inter-cultural experts share why biodiversity and pollinators are important to our planet, to our community, and to our food security.
      • Explore the three core topics around biodiversity that are interwoven throughout this project.
      • Search the BioSTEAM wiki with the keyword EXPLORE to learn more.

STEMarts Wiki

The BioSTEAM-Wiki is where you will find links to articles, images, video, and tutorials that we have collected from the web around the broad topic of Biodiversity and Human Impact. You can navigate the BioSTEAM Wiki by entering keywords into the search field below or clicking through the word cloud. Word clouds visualize the amount of information available on a topic - the bigger the word in the cloud, the more links to explore. The BioSTEAM-Wiki is just a starting point. We encourage you to do your own research to see what you find.

Remember this resource is an open-source forum that shares links and ideas that others have created or shared – always check your sources and give credit where credit is due. The open-source movement generously shares its knowledge and relies on user feedback – so if there’s something really good or doesn’t work let others know.

QUICK START: Type in the key word of the stage you are working on: Connect, Explore, Research, Create or Radiate. This will give you resources that you need for that stage of the design process.


Biodiversity topics to explore

Explore the three core biodiversity topics in the Pollinator Concentrator project. What inspires you? Which topic or topics will you choose to inform your design? How will your BioMachine address the challenges or opportunities of these topics: Biodiversity loss and pandemic diseases, Biodiversity and food sovereignty, Tech Tools and biodiversity.

Biodiversity loss and pandemic diseases

Human activity has immense effect on the life connections around us. How we seek knowledge, how we learn and do things, and the way we connect to people and place will define what impact humanity has on the future of our shared planet. Biodiversity loss is a poignant topic as the COVID-19 pandemic has direct ties to habitat encroachment, exploitation of resources and the spread of zoonoses. Search COVID in the BioSTEAM wiki to start researching this topic. How will your Bio-Machine address this challenge?

Biodiversity and food sovereignty

Food sovereignty is the right of all people to healthy and ecologically safe consumption, production and distribution of food to assure their food security. Our industrial food system is one of the major contributors to biodiversity loss. We’ll need big ideas to envision and design a biodiverse future. Watch the INTERviews to see how people are using new and ancient food sovereignty models to protect biodiversity. Search Food Sovereignty in the BioSTEAM wiki to inform your design.

Tech Tools and biodiversity

Tech Tools are the tools and technologies being developed and used to protect or harm nature and the planets biodiversity. Data monitoring and tracking species with sensors and GPS are an example of how scientists are using tech tools as an interface with nature to protect biodiversity. Pesticides are an example of technology being used in a way that harms nature and contaminates our food systems. Search Tech Tools in the BioSTEAM wiki to learn more about this topic. What Bio-Machine can you invent that uses existing and future technologies in a way that is in balance with nature and can protect biodiversity? 

Biodiversity Topics Map

The Biodiversity Topics Map below gives you a birds-eye view of the topic areas embedded in the Pollinator Concentrator project. See the interdisciplinary connections explored in the BioSteam Design Tool and throughout the project. Trace how the BioSTEAM concepts highlight the working relationships between art, culture, science, and technology. Search the BioSTEAM Wikis using the colored keywords to see the big picture.

Space Messengers is made possible in part by the Citizen Diplomacy Action Fund for U.S. Alumni; an opportunity sponsored by the U.S. Department of State with funding provided by the U.S. Government and administered by Partners of the Americas. This project is supported in part by New Mexico Arts, a division of the Department of Cultural Affairs, and by the National Endowment for the Arts

STEMarts Curriculum Tool (c) 2012, 2018, 2021 STEMarts Lab
content free to share under the Creative Commons license.
Webmasters: Adrian Gulo and Joshua Haggard