Team:Purdue/Biomaker Badge


Biomaker Biotechnology Badge


After establishing the connection between lack of engagement in science as youth and lack of female representation in technical fields, the 2012 Report from Girl Scouts of America, Generation STEM: what girls have to say about science, technology, engineering, and mathematics , the research concludes with the following ten recommendations to combat the issue:
  • 1. Encourage young girls to ask questions about the world, to problem solve, and to use natural creativity through play, creativity, and experimentation.
  • 2. Foster girls’ internal assets such as confidence, self-esteem, initiative, and a work ethic
  • 3.Expose girls to people who have careers in STEM, so they can observe firsthand what these careers are, and what they can offer
  • 4. Keep girls interested and engaged in STEM over time and beyond transition points.
  • 5.Support and encourage STEM interests
  • 6.Show girls that what they want out of their careers can be achieved through STEM
  • 7. Many girls prefer working in groups and collaborating with others to solve problems
  • 8. Steer clear of obvious or subtle stereotypes about girls’ and women’s abilities in math science.
  • 9. African American and Hispanic girls have just as much interest in STEM as Caucasian girls, yet they have had less exposure to STEM, lower academic achievement, and less adult support.
  • 10. Use this research to create awareness and advocate for girls to be engaged in STEM opportunities.
  • The Purdue University iGEM Team, under commission from the Girl Scouts of Central Indiana, has established a working lesson plan for the Biomaker Biotechnology Patch, an introductory workshop to Biotechnology and Synthetic Biology for Girl Scouts in 8th-10th grade. According the the Generation STEM report, 36% of teenage girls who identify themselves as 'STEM students' (interested in pursuing a STEM career) have participated in STEM activities outside of school, as opposed to 13% of non-STEM girls. Statistics like these in the report support the creation of the Biomaker Biotech Patch to engage girls in STEM activities while introducing them to synthetic biology and biological engineering.

    The Workshop Overview

    The Workshop established basic laboratory skills and introduces the concepts of genetics, engineering methods, self-directed team projects, and research skills through exposure to iGEM and wetlab activities. From basic hands-on material like extracting strawberry DNA, to creative activities like development and presentation of a mock iGEM project idea, the workshop presents six hours of material in fun and engaging ways to encourage participation in science and create a foundation of skills and knowledge for future endeavors.


    After encountering problems with publicity and interest, a previous run date of Sept. 29th was postponed and currently the Workshop is scheduled to occur in a high school laboratory space in the month of October. It is the hope of the Purdue iGEM Team and the Girl Scouts of Central Indiana that the project will be extended to include continuing workshops in the spring and summer, as well expansion of the workshop into a full badge series. This series would be the foundation for incorporating Girl Scout iGEM teams into the High School Competition and shows promising opportunities for future development.

    References and Links

    Generation STEM: What girls have to say about science, technology, engineering, and math , Girl Scouts of America, 2012
    Girl Scouts of Central Indiana