Three models were then presented; each model was differently
constructed but all contained the fin-ray effect (Figure 6A). One
model had no stabilizer, the second had one, and the third had
several stabilizers. When pushing against the model (Figure 6B)
with the trigger finger, students can easily recognize function of
An example of a bionics application of this effect is seen in different picker arms in the industry. This system is also reconstructed
as a model, where the students could test the picker arms by lifting
a ball (Figure 6C).
Station Skin Adaption
Examples of the skins of different animals—specifically shark skin,
bird feathers, or fish slime layers—illustrate adaptation strategies
and bionics applications (workbook p.14). A variety of examples
represent animal skin (feather, sandpaper, mucus), and drawings
of the animals are to be assigned to the appropriate skin (Figure 7).
Information text (Supplemental Material Appendix D) and pic-
tures (Figure 8) explain the bionics application of the shark skin effect.
Aquarium module.—Adaptations of living animals (dolphins,
seals, fish, and manatees) were identified and observed, in particular
the swimming adaption, the dolphin snout, fins, and communication skills (Figure 9A,B).
Station Swimming Adaption
A first task focused on the streamlined shape and swimming speed
(workbook p.8). The fastest swimmer was identified. Additionally,
students were required to define nutrition preferences, whether animals live as herbivores or carnivores.
Station Dolphin Snout
The dolphin snout was observed by completion of a drawing
(Figure 10A). This drawing was to be compared with a picture
of a tanker (Figure 10B).
An information text (Supplemental Material Appendix E)
explained the parallel of tanker shapes and dolphin snouts as an adaption to reduce water flow drag and save energy (workbook p.9).
Fin is Not Fin
Fins of different animals had to be labeled and assigned to a living animal in the aquarium (Figure 11A,B) (workbook p.10). Students were
also required to draw their own hand next to a picture of the dolphin’s
flapper in their guiding book to show homologies of evolution.
Communication under Water
This station dealt with the communication system of dolphins and
its technological application in the tsunami early warning system
(workbook p.12). The students could hear the voices of the dolphins in a hearing station (Figure 12A).
Subsequently an information sheet (Supplemental Material
Appendix F) simplified the model of the early warning system for
tsunamis, showing pressure sensors on the sea bed sending information to a buoy at the ocean surface, which also uses the technology of
dolphin communication (Figure 12B).
Figure 6. (A) Three different constructed fin models. (B) Fin model with many stabilizers. (C) Model of picker arms with the fin
Figure 7. Assigning animal models (fish, penguin, shark) to
skin models (feather, sandpaper, mucus).
Figure 8. Bionics application of the shark skin effect.