Meet the Team
Initiatives and Events
This event was spaced out over the campus of the University of Kent. We were able to set up our own booth of which we named “Science Island”. Our booth included five different stations (Mother Nature, Chemistry Lab, DNA Kitchen, The Human Body and Light Source) that the children could explore. These booths were created to either help introduce or expand the knowledge of science to the children and their parents.
Here, we introduced the definitions of pH range, acidic, neutral and alkaline. To do this, we allowed the children to use sterilised pipettes to ‘suck’ up household products such as cola and baking powder. During this, we were able to teach them how to prevent cross contamination by giving them new pipettes for different products and explaining how it would have an effect on the final product if the same pipette was used. The products were then placed in to individual sterilised test tubes where the children then used pH test strips to determine whether the product was acidic, neutral or alkaline. After the conduction of these pH tests we discussed the importance of pH in nature and in relation to balanced ecosystems and the environment, examples included: The maintenance of water pH for the survival of fish and how changes in the pH can cause disease.
The Chemistry Lab
On this station, our team members demonstrated experiments with dry ice, soap and other household materials, while talking to the children about sublimation, the different states of water and the behaviour of gases.
The DNA Kitchen
Our kitchen allowed us to explain to the children what DNA was and what it is involved in, such as genes. To do this, we helped them to construct a DNA double helix out of candy to then explain how our DNA carries information, where the information comes from and how it makes us unique. We also used this opportunity to explain the concept of genetic manipulation and mutations to the older children and their parents. This was carried out in relation to our project, which then led onto us asking the older children and parents to participate in our surveys so that we could get feedback on the advantages and disadvantages of Genetically Modified Organisms, how to improve our project and to gain a better understanding of the awareness, media impact and public opinion surround GMOs. The results of the surveys are mentioned below.
The Human Body
Our next station, the human body was dedicated to anatomy and the various functions of our organs. Here we demonstrated a breathing machine. Our audience were able to get involved with the breathing machine where they were able to control the expansion and expulsion of the lungs and physically see how the diaphragm and the lungs work together in order for us to respire. We also created some puzzles of different organs in the human body, allowing the children to identify what organs belong in the body. Once the puzzle was completed we then explained how each organ functioned and why it is essential to the human body for survival.
Our final station was supervised by our physicist. We allowed the children to look through a prism to split the light to get an idea of light reflection and absorption. The refraction of the light allowed them to see the different colours of the light spectrum. In conjunction with our project, we explained to the older audience the basics of a Green Fluorescent Protein component and how it is integrated in with our project.
During the two open days at the University of Kent that occurred on the 7 th and 21 st October, we engaged aspiring potential undergraduate students by explaining our experience with STEM and iGEM. We did this by presenting our project to them and then holding a Q&A session afterwards.
Our social media is based on platforms such as YouTube, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. This allowed us to engage with a wider range of the community, not just locally but nationally as well. On these platforms we engaged with other participants in iGEM within the UK where a meetup was organised at the University of Westminster, UCL and Warwick. At this convention each team had the opportunity to present their current process, receive feedback from other teams and help each other with any difficulties, e.g. with modelling. Also, after the Jamboree we will be producing a vlog that overviews our summer with iGEM including our work at the Jamboree. Please feel free to visit our links to the social media which are available at the bottom of our page.
As of the 1 st November 2017, our game, LuCas’ Adventure has been played by 92 people and they have taken an interest in our project. The first part of the game involves controlling the Cas13a/C2C2 to collect RNA and avoid DNA. This represents the CRISPR-Cas13a system being used to localise RNA in the nucleus, where the nucleus is set as the background of the game. The second part of the game involves a maze where the Cas13a system is GFP bound and is guided by the player to find the Endoplasmic Reticulum ready to be translated. The game has enabled us to reach out to people that do not have much knowledge in the science sector and explain the concepts of the nature of our project.