Year 1 Pilot Events & Activities

Summer 2015 Building with Biology pilot events took place at eight locations across the United States. Hundreds of public participants interacted with scientists and other members of the synthetic biology community in these pilot events, which were held at the following locations: Arizona Science Center, Chabot Space and Science Center, Museum of Life and Science, Museum of Science, Boston, New York Hall of Science, Pacific Science Center, Science Museum of Minnesota, and Sciencenter.

Building with Biology pilot events promoted conversations among scientists and members of the public about synthetic biology through hands-on activities and forums. Pilot hands-on activities, facilitated by scientists and educators, were short activities lasting less than 15 minutes that were often presented at a cart or in a demonstration space such as an exhibit gallery or classroom. Forums were intended for youth (ages 16+) and adults to engage with scientists in facilitated dialogue and deliberation (usually 1-2 hours) around a specific question about synthetic biology.

Year 1 pilot event evaluation

As a part of the 2015 Building with Biology pilot events, the eight host sites collected data that have been used to inform changes to the 2016 kits and help us understand the impacts of Building with Biology events on volunteers and publics. The following documents share findings from the pilot events:

  • Public Data Summary: Describes data collected from visitors who interacted with hands-on activities at the eight sites.
  • Forum Data Summary: Describes data collected from visitors and volunteers who participated in the forums/conversation activities.
  • Volunteer Data Summary: Describes data collected from volunteers (mostly scientists) about their experiences at the events and/or forums.

For more information about the Year 1 pilot Building with Biology event evaluations, contact Liz Kollmann or Katie Todd

Year 1 pilot activity development

Museums and synthetic biology scientists collaborated to develop 19 activities and forums during the pilot year of the Building with Biology project.

As a part of activity creation, developers gathered input from educators, scientists, and publics through a formative evaluation process called Team-Based Inquiry (TBI). TBI engages professionals - with help from evaluators - in an interative four step process of formative evaluation, and was developed by the Nanoscale Informal Science Education Network (NISE Net; DRL 0532536, 0940143). To learn more about Team-Based Inquiry, you can find guides and videos about the TBI process on the NISE Net website, or you can contact Liz Kollmann

Team-Based Inquiry is a formative evaluation process developed by the NISE Network

Year 1 pilot activities

Descriptions of the 19 activities created as a part of the pilot phase of this project are listed below. For questions about the activities, please email buildingwithbiology@mos.org, and we’ll put you in touch with the activity developers.

3D Printing with Synthetic Biology kit

3D Printing with Synthetic Biology

Developed by the New York Hall of Science

This is a hands-on activity where guests explore current research and future possibilities of 3D printing and synthetic biology.

A Tool for Editing the Genome

A Tool for Editing the Genome

Developed by the Museum of Science and AAAS

In this forum, participants learn about editing the genome, its benefits and risks, and share your opinion about potential real-world applications.

BioBucks kit

BioBucks!

Developed by the Science Museum of Minnesota

In this activity visitors look at cards that describe different technologies potentially enabled by synthetic biology.

Building Immunity kit

Building Immunity

Developed by the Oregon Museum of Science & Industry

This is a hands-on activity in which scientists, educators, and visitors discuss the development of four different types of vaccinations.

Clean It With Bio? kit

Clean It With Bio?

Developed by Chabot Space & Science Center

This game showcases one example of how synthetic biology could help society and allows for discussion between scientists and the public.

Engineering Super-organisms & Superheroes kit

Engineering Super-organisms & Superheroes

Developed by the Museum of Science

Visitors are presented with two scenarios. In one, they can make a super organism to save the day, in the other, they can make a superhero.

Kit of Parts kit

Kit of Parts

Developed by The Franklin Institute

This is a hands-on activity where visitors design a model cell that can solve a current problem being tackled by synthetic biologists.

Microbe Match Game kit

Microbe Match Game

Developed by the Sciencenter

This is a card game exploring microbes that synthetic biologists use in their research and the ways that they engineer them to make new things.

Mission to Mars kit

Mission to Mars

Developed by the Sciencenter

This is an open-ended conversational experience in which visitors imagine and draw the things they would want to have on a human colony of Mars.

Should We Engineer the Mosquito?

Should We Engineer the Mosquito?

Developed by the Museum of Science

In this forum, participants consider two case studies and share your views on the future of mosquito engineering.

Smell the Biology kit

Smell the Biology

Developed by the Lawrence Hall of Science

Visitors smell the byproducts of yeast and bacteria fermentation and ask, "If a microbe could produce your favorite smell, what would that be?"

Spreading Cells

Spreading Cells

Developed by The Franklin Institute

This is a hands-on activity where visitors practice basic lab techniques of pipetting and spreading bacterial cultures.

The Whole Picture kit

The Whole Picture

Developed by the Pacific Science Center

The Whole Picture is an activity in which visitors build a picture of a transgenic organism that synthetic biologists have already made.

VirEx: Delivering Tomorrow’s Cures Today kit

VirEx: Delivering Tomorrow’s Cures Today

Developed by the Children’s Museum of Houston

Kids are asked to rethink the nature of viruses by building their own custom disease-fighting virus.

Vitamin A: You Choose!

Vitamin A: You Choose!

Developed by the Museum of Science

This is a hands-on activity exploring different existing sources of vitamin A and how yeast can be modified to produce vitamin A.

What Would You Build? kit

What Would You Build?

Developed by the Museum of Science

This is a drawing activity where visitors can imagine and draw their own solutions to all sorts of problems using biology.

Where Is Synthetic Biology? kit

Where Is Synthetic Biology?

Developed by the Museum of Science

In this “bingo” type game, participants identify images that match descriptions of applications of synthetic biology with images.

Would You Eat That? kit

Would You Eat That?

Developed by the Science Museum of Minnesota

In this activity visitors learn about new foods being developed using synthetic biology techniques.

You Have the Power!

You Have the Power!

Developed by Arizona Science Center

In this forum, players must negotiate, trade, and invest their resources to work together to make their dream project a reality.