Team:UNICAMP-EMSE Brazil/Human Practices
This year our team prepared three different human practices, each one facing distinct public and with different proposals. As a binational team, we could disseminate to public from both countries (Brazil and France) the knowledge acquired during the development of our project.
The first part of our Human Practice began with the selection of the team itself. Unlike most teams, half of our students had no previous experience in molecular or synthetic biology. They were trained by our brazilian advisors during the development of the project, and had a hard work on having just one summer to learn it. But 4 months later we were really proud to see them back in France giving a lecture at EMSE about iGEM, synthetic biology and their experience, which is also part of our Human Practice project.
Additionally, we decided to innovate, creating a didactical method to teach genetic engineering in schools, to a public that have never heard about this scientific field. We were very happy with our results, specially with the high school students feedback. They were very enthusiastic about the Video class and DNA workshop we prepared to them. Also, they became very interested in learning about genes, promoters, devices and important issues related to Genetic Engineering.
Click the images below to see each Human Practices we have done:
We believe we were able to target the following
1. We created an educational method (see here) to disseminate knowledge about genetic engineering and synthetic biology in schools. We could test this method and prove it's efficacy in providing to the students an overview of these scientific fields and also to make them more curious and interested about this area;
2. The DNA workshop was a wonderfull educational activity and a great experience for the students (either for us);
3. The video class that we created can be used to disseminate and promote the area in a simple language. Everyone can watch the video and might will understand:
- what is Genetic Engineering and Synthetic Biology,
- how they can be used to solve important problems
- how they are integrated in our daily life
- examples of such items
4. Additionally, a school teacher can easily reproduce what we have done (you can see the documentary here) simply by creating the see DNA workshop Kit. We provided a complete description on how-to-do this kit HERE.
5. We believe we could remove a "mystification" from scientific issues like genetic engineering, which seemed to be like "magic" for the high school students:
- The students could think by themselves how could they solve a high-impact problem using Synthetic Biology and Genetic Engineering
- They felt capable of solving problems using genetic engeneering and able to understand the main principles of this field, which seems to be so difficult that only scientists can understand. It was possible to see that they were very happy and excited about the experience, talking like scientists making hypothesis, planning experiments and expecting results.
- If you watch the Video Documentary, you will notice that there is a little piece of simbolism in the final of the video: All student groups were awarded with best projects! For us, it meant that everyone awarded by acquiring new knowledge. Thus, awards were just a natural consequence of study and learning. They believed (and they told us) that they could gain much more with knowledge than they thought before.
6. For us, the DNA workshop meant much more than just a judging requirement. We learned and grew with the developed activities.
7. We could obtain general information about knowledge in genetic engineering among the target audiences (either for the two talks (at CAEB and at EMSE) than for the high-school students from Belo Horizonte city.
8. The surveys also allowed us to obtain different views about several aspects of synthetic biology;
9. As a binational team, we could disseminate to public from our countries (Brazil and France) the knowledge acquired during the development of our project.
10. Our Human Practice experience was extremely rich, not only because it was performed in 2 different countries, but also because of the dedication shown by our team students and also by the students attending the activities, which got deeply involved in the theme. For us, this is the real meaning of a human practice: being an experience that goes beyond our country, beyond our team, beyond 2011.