1.Make vedio of this project
3.Founded a sythetic biology club
disseminate our interest and knowledge
After we finished the invention of artificial breast milk, we wished to let more people to notice our project and to understand the idea of synthetic biology. Therefore, we created a club called “Bio Constructors” at school.
We handed in our application form in August, and we got the permission to hold activities in September. The first step is enrollment. We sent the QR code of the Club HQ to the wechat groups of students. We also sent an introduction of our club (lectures about synthetic biology knowledge, lectures about our project of iGEM 2020, demonstration of experimental equipments, and opportunities to conduct synthetic biology experiments) to those groups. Many students were attracted and joined this club.
Starting in late September, our club activities officially began. In the first lecture, we showed the overview Human Practice flow diagram and Experimental Process flow diagram of our project to the students, and explained the logic of our project. We emphasized the seriousness of the problems that the parents are currently facing, and experts’ positive attitude towards our project.
In the second lecture, we started to teach them the synthetic biology. Members of 2020 iGEM BJ101HS team became the teachers. Our course started from the chemical bases of genetic materials. And the lecture would be held once a week. By the time that this web page was written, we have held 5 lectures. We have explained them the detailed structure of chromosome, brief overview of central dogma, the specific process of transcription & translation.
We also illustrated what specific proteins (enzymes) are needed during this process. We are planning to hold a seminar next week in order to let them discuss about what they have learned and what are potential improvements.
The specific future teaching plan will be made base on how will these students perform in class. But generally, after 6 months, they should be able to master the amount of knowledge that enables them to become a synthetic biology freshman college student. They may even participate the iGEM competition in the next year.
Moreover, fortunately, our school has the laboratory resources. We are communicating with our school teachers and trying to get access to these laboratories. If we get permissions, we will take the members of our club to those labs, and demonstrate the experiment procedures, like PCR, Gel electrophoresis experiment, and bacterial culture.
Comparing with these 10th graders, we as predecessors can also benefit from this club experience. Our knowledges became more fixed in mind after we gave lectures about them. And the interesting questions asked by students can also inspire us to think and search for new information. For example, one day a 10th grader asked Lindsor, one of our lecturers, a question about how proteins were transported. Since the knowledges that he learned didn’t cover this question, he searched for this after the lecture. Then he found the answer in a book Campbell Biology, that microtubules and kinesin & dynein proteins on it will carry vesicles that contain proteins to move. The club activities are mutual beneficial experiences for the listeners and the predecessors.
Also, surprisingly, we learned the iGEM team of Nanjing Foreign Language School had the same idea. Thus, we contacted each other, and decided to held a virtual meetup activity and to exchange our ideas and experiences.
Holding online meetups
As explained in the “scientific communication” part, we created a club at school in order to disseminate the synthetic biology. Surprisingly, we learned the iGEM team of Nanjing Foreign Language School had the same idea!
Thus, we contacted each other. Because of COVID-19, we can’t hold a real meeting so decided to hold a virtual meetup activity and to exchange our ideas and experiences. The meetup contained two parts: introducing our own project to each other, and more important: discussing about the club activities. There are around twenty students in our virtual meetup, some of them are old iGEMers and some students are freshmen in iGEM. We introduced our artificial breast milk project carefully and shared our interesting experience during iGEM.
Then came to the discussion part, which is the main part of this meetup. We first introduced our experiences, that majority of our work is giving lectures to the 10th graders, teaching them actual synthetic biology knowledge.
When the school’s laboratory is available, we would show them the real equipment of synthetic biology experiments. These club activities can also help them to prepare for the future iGEM competition. The Nanjing Foreign Language School’s team, however, organized their activities in a different way. Their main purpose was to spread the synthetic biology knowledge to the society. They have held lectures in primary schools and junior high schools, and they even planned to introduce this subject to their neighborhoods. Of course, the knowledge they teach will be less professional, since one cannot talk about “genetic engineering” or “Gel electrophoresis experiment” to a 7 years old kid. Instead of teaching actual practical knowledge, the main purpose of their activities was to inspire people to get interested in this subject. The freshmen also joined the discussion and told us what they are interested in, which gave both of the teams more inspiration.
We learned a lot from the virtual meetup. After the discussion, we concluded that each of our club activities followed two different tracks. So we could add the other track in our club’s plan, which can make our activities more substantial. From our perspective, we would start to contact the primary schools of the education group of Beijing 101, and ask about whether we can introduce this subject briefly to their students. We would also make some posters and post them in our neighborhood. We believe that they would start their actions on teaching high school students and showing them a potential major of biology, too.