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We analyzed the questionnaires filled out by the students after the lectures, and obtained crucial information about their opinions and intentions. Guided by the questionnaire, we wrote a report to apply for a specific funding for iGEM-HS in Beijing and began to guide three students from the SHSBNU towards their future participation in iGEM competition.

Questionnaire Analysis

In order to learn more about what high school students thought of synthetic biology, iGEM, and our lectures, as well as what kind of support they needed, we constructed a questionnaire. After the lectures, 53 students (24 male and 29 female) from the audience filled out our questionnaire.

Figure 13. Questionnaires

Figure 13. Questionnaires.

The data we obtained from this questionnaire was of greatly beneficial for us. According to Question 1 and Question 4 in the questionnaire, we recognized that over three-fifths of these students have not heard of synthetic biology and over nine-tenths of students have not heard of the iGEM competition before our lectures. Therefore, it is extremely necessary for us to popularize the concept of synthetic biology and iGEM before taking any other steps forward. What makes us impressed the most was that nearly 60% of the students in attendance desired to take part in the iGEM competition, according to Question 6, which means our lectures about synthetic biology and iGEM did attract a good majority of students' interests. This enables us to fulfill our goal to guide them towards future participation in iGEM.

Question 1

Question 1

Question 4

Question 4

Question 6

Question 6

Figure 14. Question Analysis for Question 1, 4 and 6

Based on the analysis of the data, it was clear what our next steps should be. According to the answers from the questionnaire, approximately 40% of the students were not willing to participate in iGEM in the future. But only a few students were not interested at all in synthetic biology or iGEM, so we decided to analyze the reasons behind this. According to Question 7, out of all the possible reasons given, "having little academic support" and "no funding" are seemed to be the most imminent. In addition, when we managed to find out what types of support students who desired to participate in iGEM need. Corresponding to Question 9, we discover that "elementary genetic engineering techniques" and "guidance from previous participants" were the most crucial aspects.

Question 7

Question 7

Question 9

Question 9

Figure 15. Question Analysis for Question 7 and 9

In conclusion, our lectures helped to propagate the concepts of synthetic biology and iGEM competition to high school students, most of whom knew nothing about these two prior to the lecture. Some students had expressed willingness to participate in future iGEM competitions, while others were not due to reasons such as academic deficiency and/or financial shortage. Hence, the next step we considered was to offer assistance to the students expressing interest, such as teaching them how to implement elementary molecular cloning experiments; if it is possible, we would also like to guide students and schools to apply for funding from the Education Commission.

Funding Application

After the lectures, Ms. Lee Xuemei, the Science Director of Beijing No.4 High School, exhibited strong interest in synthetic biology and the international Genetically Engineering Machine (iGEM) competition. On July 26th, Ms. Lee came to the lab of Peking iGEM. At the time, the PKU-UCSF Workshop was taking place. With the company of our advisor Prof. Ouyang Qi, we took Ms. Lee to the workshop field and had a serious talk on how to spread ideas of synthetic biology and iGEM to high school students.

Figure 19. Funding Application

Figure 19. The Science Director of Beijing No.4 High School Ms Lee came to Peking2012 iGEM team and had a serious to with us. (Ms Lee is on the right-hand side)

Figure 20. Group Photo

Figure 20. A group photo of Ms Lee, our advisor Prof. Ouyang and Peking2012 team members.

During our discussion, we reached an agreement. Unlike most universities, high schools in Beijing, or even all over China, are lacking financial support, whether private or public. Thus, we concluded that participation in iGEM HS Division in China would be better if it was government-aided. Therefore we decided to write a report together with Ms. Lee Xuemei to apply for a specific funding for Beijing high school students to participate in the iGEM competition. The report contains surveys of iGEM competition these years, aptitudes and abilities of high school students in Beijing, and a comparison between students in China and the United States. It has been submitted to the Beijing Municipal Commission of Education and is waiting for approval.

Guiding High School Students Towards
Future Participation

After our lectures, we decided to guide students from The Second High School attached to Beijing Normal University to participate in the coming iGEM high school competition in 2013. On August 28th, several of our team members again went to The Second High School attached to Beijing Normal University and had a talk with Ms. Shen Jinghong, the Associate Principal of the school, and two other teachers who were interested in iGEM. We also took many photos recording the scene of discussion.

Figure 21. Re-visit high school

Figure 21. On August 28th, our several team members once again went to The Second High School attached to Beijing Normal University and had a talk with Ms Shen Jinghong, the Associate Principal of the school. (She is on the left)

Due to our excellent job in propagating the concept of iGEM HS division one and a half months beforehand, these students are now extremely motivated to take part in the iGEM competition, fulfilling their utmost potential. We discussed in detail regarding the total number of students participating, the work schedule, and what we are able to do to support them. They were thankful for our efforts and began to consider subsequent issues.

Figure 22. Project Discussion

Figure 22. The student from SHSBNU, GE Qiuchen is discussing her intended project with the Peking2012 deputy team leader Shrine. (GE is on the left)

Figure 23. Experiments1

Figure 23. One of our team members, Jean is teaching students the basic principles of molecular experiments.

Figure 24. Experiments2

Figure 24. Students are doing experiments. They are extracting plasmids from the bacteria.

In September, we invited some of the students, YAN Wumo, GE Qiuchen, and HAN Yutong, in The Second High School attached to Beijing Normal University (SHSBNU), who were willing to participate in the iGEM contest, to join our weekly group discussion and practice some basic molecular experiments techniques, such as plasmid extraction and gel electrophoresis. In the process, they have made great progress in gaining primary knowledge of synthetic biology, as well as in the elementary experiment manipulation. We have also taken many photos recording their study process.

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