Team:William and Mary/Practices/Workshops



W&M iGEM held workshops all over VA this summer!

We held a total of nine workshops about Synthetic Biology this summer, both in and out of our lab, all over the state of Virginia, for more than 150 students from Kindergarten to Pre-College, as well as adults.

1. Bruton High School Lab Visit, AP Biology Class: Emil Davis' AP Biology class from Bruton High School, a local public school, visited our lab during the first week of summer research when their school year was ending. We reviewed basic AP Biology concepts with them, showed them some protocols they had read about but never performed, such as gel electrophoresis, and taught them about lab safety.
2. King Solomon Christian Academy, June 26: We taught 1-3 graders at King Solomon Christian Academy's Summer Session program. They learned about codons and genes, modeled DNA structure, and predicted what traits an offspring of two individuals with specific alleles would have.
3. & 4. Learning Fun School, June 27, 1-3 grade and 4-6 grade w/ parent session We hosted two workshops at LFS. Each had an optional parent session during which we explained Synthetic Biology, iGEM, and our 2015 project. The students extracted DNA, learned about alleles and genes, interpreted codons, predicted offspring traits, visualized gel electrophoresis, and observed changes in protein structure after exposure to disturbances such as heat.
5. Saturday and Summer Enrichment Program Workshop, July 11, 4-6 grade: William and Mary's School of Education has a Center for Gifted Students program that runs events for students when they are not in school. We hosted 4-6 graders in our lab, where they got a firsthand look at our equipment and our project. They even got to see our confocal microscope in action!
6. & 7. Girl Scout Synthetic Biology Badge Workshop, July 18; brownies, juniors; cadettes & ambassadors; parents session This summer, we developed a Synthetic Biology Girl Scout Badge through the Girl Scouts of America Make Your Own badge program. We also hosted two workshops where girls could earn different levels of the badge, based on their age. They got to streak RFP colonies onto agar plates, check out our confocal microscope, extract banana DNA, model the structure of DNA with candy, and learn about plasmids and the parts of a gene.
8. PLUS-S, July 20 -24; Incoming College Freshmen: Every summer, William & Mary holds a week-long program for incoming freshmen interested in scientific research. This summer, four of the participants shadowed us in our lab every day for two hours. They had the opportunity to be exposed to the world of research and help us perform procedures such as inoculations, minipreps, and transformations.
9. Robotics First Lego League, August 1: A student-led robotics team from Northern Virginia drove down to Williamsburg to visit our lab and learn about Synthetic Biology and how the engineering concepts they use in robotics can be applied to biology. They also performed lab protocols with us, saw the confocal microscope, modeled DNA and different types of cells using candy and cookies.