The iGEM competition demands a part of security or human practices. Along previous years, each team has been improving and increasing this part of the competition having arrived to realize surprising achievements.
The iGEM Valencia 2012 team considered interesting to do some activities focused on the youngest children. The purpose of these activities was to make children know something about the DNA or to amplify their knowledge about it and the synthetic biology. We chose the youngest people because it is a way to relay them the curiosity about this field, managing to make them learn new concepts and ideas at the same time.
Depending on the age of each child, there were arisen different activities and games.
To the youngest, we considered interesting to explain them what was DNA and why all living creatures have it. Once children listened the explanation with photos (to make it easier), we started playing “Paint it!” That game consisted in painting the complementary bases in a giant DNA molecule.
In the next game, we painted them a complementary base in their face so they had to find someone with their complementary base.
To children between 6 and 9, we decided to ask them what they know about DNA, and, depending on their level, we would explain them more about this subject or clarify what they knew. We taught them that all living creatures have DNA and that DNA could be modified.
The first game was with animal cut-outs. Each child had to combine different animals obtaining different combinations. After that, we put children in two lines; one was the line with DNA and the other the line without DNA. Then we showed photos and the line who didn’t match with the photo had to catch the one which matched.
To conclude, the last activities were planned to children within 10 and 13. As always, first of all, we asked them if they knew something about DNA and if they knew something related to synthetic biology. Once children had answered, we explained them correctly the incorrect answers; moreover, we taught them on what consist synthetic biology and why it is important.
For their game, we separate the children in two groups. Each child had a complementary base do DNA painted in his face. Near each group there were water balloons. When the game started the children had to wet their complementary base so the winner was the child who had wet more his complementary base.
The aim of these activities was to learn to transmit our knowledge easily to children while they (and some of their parents) pass a good time learning and playing.