Education of future iGEMers
German school Stockholm
During our stay in Stockholm with five of our team members, we had the opportunity to visit the local German school. There, we spoke to final year students about iGEM and synthetic biology as a field of study. Our goal was to engage in a conversation with them rather than just telling them about our experiences. We wanted to learn more about their thoughts and what they imagined biology to be. For this purpose, we designed an interactive presentation. Even though it was still early in the morning, the students were eager to learn more about our work and readily took to our questions. Especially towards the end, we had a great discussion about ethics in biological work. Unfortunately, it was cut short due to time reasons. For us, it was great to see how younger people, yet uninvolved in science, perceived biology. It thought us that the students are willing to learn more and seek further education. We feel that it is our responsibility as young scientists to teach and inspire them to pursue this eagerness to learn. We want to thank Mrs Delp for giving us the possibility to have this informative and constructive session with her students. We really enjoyed it and learned about how to modify our lessons for other schools.
The experience in Stockholm taught us that we should focus more on including the students into our presentation, and to arrange enough time for discussion. On the 18 of October, three of us went to the Johanna-Geissmar Gymnasium (high school) and gave a lesson in two classes of senior students. We conducted a fifteen-minute presentation about who we are, what iGEM is and then showed them our e-learning platform "Clonecademy". We created a interactive module imparting the basics of biology to the students, where they can test themselves on "what I´ve learned in school so far". Enthusiastically the students plunged into working on these modules and scored high. They seemed excited to work with Clonecademy and were greatly interested in modules dealing with topics that are relevant for their Abitur (graduation), such as cell biology, genetic engineering, and cellular neuroscience. We aspire to create such modules in January with the result that all students graduating in Baden-Württemberg (Germany) can use this platform to be prepared for their last exam in high school with outstanding success.