Education & Communication is an essential part of science. By talking to different people and using different ways to make different people understand and discover the meaning of synthetic biology is what we really want to do. Therefore, we made an attempt, despite the pandemic, to share information about synthetic biology and our project to a wide range of audiences from primary school students to the general public.
We conducted this Education & Communication from three aspects of synthetic biology education and iGEM introduction, bioethics science and After iGEM program to different people, which triggering them to think about bioethics in their lives. Besides, we create a platform to better provide synthetic biology education services for students in the future.
Introduction to Synthetic Biology Education and iGEM
We gave the children a science lesson on
We guided the children to learn how to observe cells using a microscope and introduced them to the structure of cells so that they could understand the structural levels of living systems. We brought children the biodoodle illustrated book, which iBowu-China led the production and we participated in the production, to teach and entertain the children, cultivate their interest in synthetic biology through coloring and explain the application of small cells in synthetic biology in their life, so that the children can learn more about iGEM and synthetic biology. Then the children successfully constructed their own gene expression vectors with stickers. Finally, during the communication with the children, we found that they were more interested in biology after this course and more willing to learn more knowledge related to biology in their future study.
MIDDLE SCHOOL EDUCATION
We went to Beijing No. 166 Middle School to teach the students the
By introducing the history of life sciences, we showed the students some landmark events in the growth journey of life sciences and gave them a deeper understanding of biology. Through a small activity of constructing gene expression vectors and an interesting small experiment of crude DNA extraction, students developed a clearer understanding of the concept of genes and intuitively learned about DNA as genetic material.
We introduced the synthetic biology and iGEM competitions and outstanding projects from previous years to give students a clearer understanding of synthetic biology and iGEM. During the communication with the students after the class, we found that they learned lots of useful knowledge in this science class and were willing to learn more about synthetic biology in their future life.
We went to Beijing Institute of technology to teach the students “Monster or Elf” Green Creature Manufacturing. Our PI Professor Jun Li and our team members explained the knowledge of synthetic biology, the experimental operation and the iGEM competition, which made everyone understand synthetic biology and have a great hope for the future development of synthetic biology. Many students learned about iGEM and wanted to participate in the competition.
We presented a lecture related to "Biotechnology and the Nobel Prize" to the students at the Science Teaching Building of Beijing Institute of Technology. We explained the development of biotechnology and the introduction for Nobel. We also introduced the DNA recombination technology related to the Nobel Prize from the perspective of molecular biology, introducing the relationship between synthetic biology and molecular biology. Then we provided an introduction of iGEM to students, introducing the team composition and competition format to the students.
Through the pre-course survey and post-course feedback questionnaire, we collected students' suggestions for our science education and guided us to optimize our science education courses. The series of courses with this theme will continue three times a semester, presenting top historical and current cutting-edge biotechnologies and their relationship to the Nobel Prize in the language of university students' understanding, and provoking their thoughts.
We conducted a joint online science popularization with BUCT-China on Bilibili website. BIT-China introduced synthetic biology to the public through online media, while BUCT-China introduced synthetic meat to the public. After the popularization, we also had a pop-up interaction to answer the questions of the netizens, so that the public can have a deeper understanding of synthetic biology.
We created iGEM2021_BIT-China as iGEM Creative Tasting Officer to publish our team's daily activities and project-related or synthetic biology-related science in the public website.
We designed a lot of creative products based on the project, which promoted the project and made more people know about iGEM.
Science Popularization Activities in Bioethics
We came to Beijing University of Technology's Qiushi School to bring "Ethical Issues in Biology" science popularization to the students.
Bioethics, as a topic of widespread concern and reflection in the world, is gaining more and more attention. China had not paid enough attention to bioethics in the past, but as China is gradually moving towards the world stage in recent years, it is paying more and more attention to ethics and has gradually promulgated many regulations to regulate bioethical issues. In order to let students have a deeper understanding of iGEM and bioethics, iBowu-China, BUCT-China, and BIT jointly held a joint scientific conference on ethical issues in biology--iGEM, organized by BIT-China.
After the preliminary education&communication activities, we found out that secondary school students are assigned elective courses of interest after school, and students take them according to their interests to develop their overall quality. Currently, there is no elective course for biology or synthetic biology. We plan to develop an elective course in secondary schools to introduce students to synthetic biology in easy-to-understand language and to introduce cases of its application in life, to stimulate students' understanding of synthetic biology, to exercise their ability to operate small experiments and to improve their scientific research skills, and to improve their overall quality.