SPREADING SCIENCE TO THE COMMUNITY
As a team, we consider that it is essential that people who do science spread their knowledge to the community. That is why we try to bring biotechnology, synthetic biology and inform about our project to different groups of people, from pre-school children to children soon to start university, and also people of all ages in rural communities.
Our first approach was in a kinder garden where we interacted with children around the ages of 3 and 4, who are in process of learning and understanding the world around them. Through different dynamics, we teach basic concepts of biotechnology, encouraging them through drawing to develop their creativity and internalize knowledge about science. This meeting was especially successful given the high interest in learning presented by kids of that age.
Our next meetings were in Calama, city located in northern Chile, more than 1,600 Km from the capital. Although students of this city have a good level of scientific education, few are familiar with novel areas of science such as synthetic biology. That is why we did a talk in two schools to students in their penultimate and final year, approaching concepts of biotechnology and synthetic biology through daily examples and news about current scientific development. We also share our project to awaken interest in scientific-technological innovation and its social impact.
Then, in the framework of spreading what is synthetic biology and natural sciences in general, we participated in an ecological fair that was held in the municipality of Talagante, a town that is located one hour away from our university. In this fair we had our own stand in which we explained and delivered brochures that summarized our project to the attendees. We also sold some delicious, healthy things like vegan brownies, muffins and cookies without refined sugar or gluten. In addition to having our stand, we participated in a forum that dealt with transgenic organisms, in which we shared our knowledge with the talagante community.
Finally, we participated in a science fair in our student-leader’s, Sebastian, former school “Los Nogales”, located in Santiago where he was a judge. With this we could evaluate the great potential that kids have in science, make some feedback with them advising them how to improve a project and encouraging them to learn more about synthetic biology. This experience was very interesting and meaningful for us.