Activity Introduction

Quick summary: In this lesson, students design a dream car and create an artwork to represent their ideas that will be submitted to the Toyota Dream Car Art Contest. This contest encourages and inspires creative expression and imagination in students – some amazing ideas are born from dreams! Students investigate biomimicry as a design principle and design a dream car that incorporates features inspired by nature. They begin by examining what biomimicry is and work in groups to research examples of biomimicry. Students will then follow a design process to develop their own ideas for their car, beginning with brainstorming ideas and then creating a concept drawing of their car. Students then refine their ideas and transform their concept drawing into an artwork that can be submitted to the Toyota Dream Car Art Contest.

The Toyota Dream Car Art Contest usually commences late October to early November and concludes late to early March. Find up-to-date entry details, prizes and full terms and conditions here.

Learning intentions:

  • Students understand what biomimicry is and how nature can inspire design.
  • Students develop and practise art-making techniques.

21st century skills: 

Australian Curriculum Mapping

Content descriptions: 

Years 7 & 8 Design and Technologies

  • Investigate the ways in which products, services and environments evolve locally, regionally and globally and how competing factors including social, ethical and sustainability considerations are prioritised in the development of technologies and designed solutions for preferred futures (ACTDEK029)
  • Critique needs or opportunities for designing and investigate, analyse and select from a range of materials, components, tools, equipment and processes to develop design ideas (ACTDEP035)
  • Generate, develop, test and communicate design ideas, plans and processes for various audiences using appropriate technical terms and technologies including graphical representation techniques (ACTDEP036)

Years 7 & 8 Visual Arts

  • Experiment with visual arts conventions and techniques, including exploration of techniques used by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists, to represent a theme, concept or idea in their artwork (ACAVAM118)
  • Practise techniques and processes to enhance representation of ideas in their art-making (ACAVAM121)

Syllabus outcomes: T4.1.1, T4.1.2, T4.1.3, T4.2.1, T4.2.2, T4.4.1, T4.5.2, T4.6.2, VAS4.1, VAS4.3, VAS4.4.

General capabilities: Critical and creative thinking.

Cross-curriculum priority: Sustainability OI.8.

Relevant parts of Year 7 & 8 Design and Technologies achievement standards: Students create and adapt design ideas, make considered decisions and communicate to different audiences using appropriate technical terms and a range of technologies and graphical representation techniques.

Relevant parts of Year 7 and 8 Visual Arts achievement standards: Students plan their art making in response to exploration of techniques and processes used in their own and others’ artworks. They demonstrate use of visual conventions, techniques and processes to communicate meaning in their artworks.

Topic: Biodiversity.

Unit of work: Toyota Dream Car Contest.

Time required: 170 mins – artwork could be completed as homework.

Level of teacher scaffolding: Medium – facilitate class discussion, guide groups through activities and through the creation of artworks. 

Resources required: Paper measuring no larger than 400mm x 550 mm (15.7-21.7in.) or A3 in size. Butcher’s paper and scrap paper for drafting. Drawing materials, including but not limited to: coloured pencils, pens/markers, crayons, paints, watercolour paints, etc. Student Worksheets – one copy per student. Device capable of presenting a video to the class. Nature Inspiration Images. Early Flying Machines. Previous Contest Winners.

Keywords: Dream, car, natural resources, sustainability, Toyota. 

Cool Australia’s curriculum team continually reviews and refines our resources to be in line with changes to the Australian Curriculum.


Teacher Worksheet

Teacher preparation

Learning intentions:

  • Students understand what biomimicry is and how nature can inspire design.
  • Students develop and practise art-making techniques.

Success criteria: Students can …

  • ... define biomimicry in their own words.
  • ... apply principles of biomimicry to their own designs.
  • ... conduct research online.
  • ... work collaboratively.
  • ... engage in group and class discussion.
  • ... plan and create concept drawing and artworks.
  • ... use different drawing/painting techniques.

Teacher content information: The Toyota Dream Car Art Contest is a global contest held to inspire creative expression and imagination in children - some amazing ideas are born from dreams! Students wishing to enter the competition are required to draw or paint a picture of what they imagine their dream car will look like. There are three age categories: under 8s, 8 to 11, and 12 to 15.

Visit the Toyota Dream Car Art Contest website for further information and to view la

- or - to view worksheets

Student Worksheet

Thought starter: What features of nature would you use to adapt to your environment?

What Is Biomimicry?

Do some research online to answer the following questions about the example f biomimicry that you have chosen:

What example are you looking at?

What problem does this example address?

How has nature inspired a solution?

What do you find most interesting or inspiring about this example?


Think about what you looked at and created in this lesson, and work independently to answer the following questions:

What part of my dream car do I like the most and why? What are its best features?

How well did I incorporate principles of biomimicry into my dream car design?

What part of my artwork am I most proud of? (Think of technique, choice of medium, colours, etc.)

What was hardest for me in this lesson?

How did I overcome this challenge?

If I could change anything about the process of creating this artwork, what would it be?

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