In collaboration with the National University of Singapore (NUS) iGEM team, we conducted a synthetic biology workshop for secondary school and junior college students, aged 14-17.
Event Details
This was a half-day workshop conducted on the 4th September 2021. The number of students who attended this workshop is approximately 40. Besides teaching the students regarding the basics of synthetic biology and its applications, we provided activities to enhance their learning.
As the students going through the Singapore education system may not have any biology background, we decided to create basic synthetic biology content such as gene circuits and how it can be edited to solve the problems. Besides that, we dived into some of the various applications such as diagnostics and agriculture. In addition, there were activities provided for the students.
Our team made 2 games that were played by the students during the workshop. We decided to use games to make the virtual workshop more interactive. The games was developed using
Game 1: Safe Lab

The purpose of this game is to allow the students to familiarise themselves with common laboratory equipment as most of them do not have any experience working in the laboratory before. The students will control a character and will be tasked to use this character to walk around a laboratory. To advance to the next stage, the students will have to answer 5 questions regarding the apparatus in the laboratory.
Click the image above to play this game!
Game 2: Diagnostics Activity

The purpose of this game is to allow the students to familiarise themselves with the different polymerase chain reaction (PCR) reaction components. The students will control a character to walk around a laboratory and they will also be given a recipe. From the recipe, the students have to locate all the different components for PCR and carry out the PCR procedure using their newfound knowledge about laboratory equipment in the previous game.
Click the image above to play this game!
Based on the feedback after the workshop, the students who participated enjoyed their time with us and were interested to learn more. As this workshop was conducted for a small number of students, we decided that there was a need to increase our reach. Therefore, we create educational videos about synthetic biology. These videos were shared on our iGEM social media accounts and were also uploaded onto youtube. In our videos, we posed an open ended question to our viewers. We hope that this will make the students think about the applications of synthetic biology and discuss it among their peers.

In the future, we hope to be able to create more videos to expand on this idea and further develop our game in order to upload them onto the google playstore, apple store and websites. Through these activities, we hope to make information about synthetic biology more accessible in our community.