In this case study we report on the use of a Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)-aligned form of Structure-Behavior-Function, called Structure-Function-Mechanism (SFM), to teach four high school engineering teachers an approach for Biologically Inspired Design (BID). Functional theories of design describe a natural way in which designers solve design problems. They provide support for case-based and analogical-based reasoning systems and have been used successfully to teach BID to undergraduate students. We found that teachers instructed on BID practice and pedagogy using our modified theory were able to grasp the structural concepts and looked for clear markers separating mechanism (behavior) and function. Because of the systems-of-systems nature of most biological entities, these boundaries were often subjective, presenting unique challenge to teachers. As high school engineering teachers look for methods to enhance their pedagogy and to understand multidisciplinary content, these findings will inform future curriculum development and professional learning approaches for engineering education.

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