Team:SUSTech Shenzhen/Education


Education for non-professional masses and students in areas lacking in educational resources bacteria ?

About Education

Spring Buds

——offline public welfare projects


The SpringBuds Project is a public welfare science popularization project. We have adopted the method of teaching volunteers, and volunteers go to the public for teaching, to carry out rapid expansion and transfer of knowledge. In the form of lectures and workshops in communities and elementary schools, we introduced people to the rudimentary knowledge of synthetic biology and have a more extensive and in-depth understanding of diarrhea which is the main part of our project.


SpringBuds means a beautiful metaphor, sowing seeds and germinating in spring. In our previous research, we found that the public knows very little about diarrhea, and the children are even more ignorant of the various causes of diarrhea that often occur around them, such as the hand-foot-and-mouth disease. Therefore, we hope that through our interesting explanation, we can not only bury the importance of hygiene in the hearts of children, which allow children to spontaneously develop the habit of washing hands and loving cleanliness after understanding the principles of diarrhea, but also the wonders of synthetic biology can be planted in the hearts of children.

The idea of call for the volunteer is influenced by the volunteer culture of the city where we are located, Shenzhen, and the famous saying "when we come to Shenzhen, we will be volunteers". Shenzhen is one of the birthplaces of volunteers in China. So far, there have been more than two million volunteers, and the total service time has reached nearly 9 million hours. The target audiences of SpringBuds involved primary school students and our trained volunteers. SpringBuds not only means enlightenment for children but also includes passing the concept of synthetic biology to the public through volunteers. After we released the call for the SpringBuds through the SUSTech Volunteer Association (SUVA), we received responses from dozens of young people, all of whom are from different majors and have different educational backgrounds. However, they all have a longing for synthetic biology but have never been able to learn further. This event helped them take a crucial step in the exploration of synthetic biology


We first tried it with the children of the school's faculty and staff at our university, and it was well-received by the teachers. After that, we trained volunteers, and with the help of more volunteers, we later carried out more activities in communities and schools. We hope that our project can not only play a role in imparting knowledge in each lecture and workshop but also hope that the knowledge can be inherited with the help of the project SpringBuds, through the successive teaching from previous volunteers to new volunteers. As long as the enthusiasm does not disappear, the transfer of knowledge will not stop.



The Spring buds project targeted mainly primary school students in the form of popular science lectures which include diarrhea knowledge popularization and publicity for synthetic biology.


We had well-designed content in our lectures. To give the children a basic and comprehensive understanding of diarrhea. We introduce it from daily life and then explain what it is, how it happens, and its prevention and treatment. During the lectures, we combined knowledge and games to make it clearer and more attractive.

A fun little experiment was involved in the class, during which the children used their fingers to touch the sterile LB culture mediums and observed the growth of bacteria the next day after the plates being cultured in the laboratory for one day by our team.

Petri Dish Games

Because we have introduced several causes of diarrhea, one of which is infection by bacteria, so we want to strengthen their awareness of the presence of bacteria everywhere around us. We hope that stimulated by this game, children can have a better awareness of prevention and better health habit.


In the synthetic biology popularization part, we gave them a perception of synthetic biology by vividly comparing synthetic biology to Lego blocks and factories. We introduce the principles, characteristics, and applications to them aiming to get them interested in exploring synthetic biology.

We designed an attractive game that let children brainstorm and design their plasmids using a card with specific colors and labels.

Engineering Bacteria Games

For there have been various cells that were designed for industrial manufacture, immune cells that target cancer cells, and so on, and we team designed an engineering bacterium that helps prevent and treat diarrhea, so we encouraged children to design their cells. The colorful circle segments stand for gene segments and the purple circle in the green cell is a vector. They can pick the labeled circle segments or blank segments with custom functions wrote by themselves and stick them on the purple region to get their own recombinant DNA with condensed imagination. By playing this game which simulates the important ideas and steps of synthetic biology, children can get a deep understanding of synthetic biology and an unforgettable experience.


Recruit and Train Volunteers

We recruited volunteers through SUVA. Because volunteers came from different majors and grades, they had different levels of understanding of diarrhea and synthetic biology. We first preached and trained volunteers so that they could introduce diarrhea and synthetic biology to more people. The feedback and suggestions from the volunteers played a big role in our optimization of the program.


On the campus of SUSTech

We need to test our design through an activity done in person first and improve it based on the feedback of the participants, so no volunteers were asked for assistance in the first activity. We briefly introduced diarrhea and instructed the children to inoculate the bacteria on their hands-on strictly sterilized LB plates. After 24 hours of culture, we took photos and gave feedback to the children, so that they could intuitively feel that there are many bacteria on their hands and urge them to develop good hygiene habits.

After the first activity, we received feedback from children and parents. We also reviewed and summarized after the activity, and revised the activity form, activity content, PPT content, etc. To ensure the quality of the lectures, team members went with the volunteers to carry out activities together in the subsequent activities.

In FuGuang Community

We led the volunteers to carry out the second activity in Fuguang Community, interspersed with questions and interactions. Many children could name two or three different types of diarrhea before teaching, and a few children could briefly describe the properties of DNA, such as double helix structure, self-replication, and inheritance. That was excellent for those who were only in the third and fourth grades.

The volunteers briefly introduced the knowledge of diarrhea, the realization of synthetic biology and its role in life, and instructed the children to play games of designing their plasmids. The children’s imagination was very rich, they designed various functional plasmids.

In the Primary School attached to SUSTech

With the joint efforts, we completed the school admission procedures during the epidemic, and we were able to enter a class in the fourth grade of the First Affiliated Primary School of Southern University of Science and Technology.

Before the lecture, we asked the children to describe their understanding of synthetic biology and saw many wonderful ideas. After the design plasmid mini-game, the children were very active in showing their designs, and we also presented souvenirs designed by the team to the children on stage sharing their works.

Participant Feedback

The students started from the practical problems, from the simple to the deep, easy to understand, let the children deeply feel the meaning of synthetic biology through the activity of letting the children design the plasmids by themselves. The children like this course very much!·

——Ms. Chen, the teacher in charge of the class in the primary school

By following the activities of iGEM classmates, I got to know a whole new field. I hope that synthetic biology will be taught to more people in future activities.

——Volunteers participating in the activity

The students of SUSTech designed the curriculum very carefully, and the children have no difficulty in understanding, which has increased the children's interest in biology and sowed the seeds of synthetic biology for the children.

——a child's parent

Thank you brothers and sisters for the lessons. The plasmid I designed can break down pollutants and kill harmful bacteria. I hope that this plasmid can be made in the future!

——Students from the primary school

In the process of preparing and organizing the project, we deepened our understanding of synthetic biology and found many problems that we did not usually notice, which greatly helped us to improve our education and experimental programs.

——a team member

From the teacher in the primary school
From a team member

Cloud West online Volunteering Teaching Project

Introduction of the Project

During the pandemic, we are also eager to find opportunities for science popularization exchanges. From June 14th to July 2nd, we participated in the volunteer teaching activity for the left-behind children in Shuichong Primary School, Qujing City, Yunnan Province, and brought the students knowledge about diarrhea and synthetic biology. We hope to pass on knowledge of diarrhea not only to children in the cities but also to left-behind children in the mountains. Online public education project "cloud" desire is the south university of science and technology and Yunnan Qujing city within the scope of the primary school, conducted a study into the mountains of left-behind children through online in English, science, academic counseling course such as public welfare project, aimed at using Internet technology platform, accompany the left-behind children grow, promote social attention left-behind children population growth.

Project Implementation

First of all, we held the opening ceremony of the camp and introduced the courses to the children online. Then we had an ice-breaking event where we played games to build closer friendships. Through online meetings and recorded classes, we brought popular science lessons about diarrhea to children. Finally, we held a camp closing ceremony with the children. To make it easier for primary school students to understand the knowledge of diarrhea and synthetic biology, our team members carefully made PPT and video and did a lot of preparation and practice for the class. Our popular science content includes the severity of diarrhea, the harm of diarrhea to the body, the methods to prevent diarrhea, the standby medicine and diet that should be prepared when diarrhea, and how to treat diarrhea by synthetic biology, etc. After the completion of the project, our love continues. We wrote a letter to each child and sent gifts carefully prepared by us, and each volunteer could help the children one on one and answer their questions on study and life. We earnestly hope that the children in the mountains will no longer suffer from diseases; Hope they can use the right knowledge to fight disease and help others; Hoping to open the door to their knowledge of synthetic biology; More hopes that our love can be passed to them across the mountains.

Results of the Project

Through our continuous efforts, the online classroom has gained the children's love, and the children also actively interact in the classroom. In addition, our recorded videos have been put on the platform Bilibili, and now we have gained a certain amount of play and feedback from children in the class. And we also made a questionnaire, hoping that teachers and children can put forward valuable opinions on our teaching support this time so that we can do better next time. Due to the limited equipment in the mountains and the heavy homework of the children, they have not had access to mobile phones, so our feedback is still in progress.