SAW in the classroom during 2011
St Peter & St Paul Primary School, Carbrooke – September 2011
iGEM SAW Project September 2011
Kimberley Hirst-Jones, outreach co-ordinator from the UEA iGEM team, designed and delivered a SAW project at Carbrooke Primary School with class 5 teacher Lennie Haslam. They were joined by artist Chris Hann and writer Elspeth Latimer. iGEM is an international synthetic biology competition for teams of undergraduate students. Images were used to introduce the theme of synthetic biology and its potential uses for solving environmental challenges.
The children explored DNA code and structure and then built DNA ladders with Plasticine and decorated them with sequences. Then the children each made up a new sequence that would enable a plant to adapt to survive in a different environment, such as drought. Their modification ideas included protective chemicals, a force field, suction cups for leaves, a modified tap leaf, an electric shield, super-strong veins, a modified water pipe root, spikes, legs to move, arms and a shovel to dig for water, the ability to create a storm, eating bumble bees, shooting vines, a water tank in the plant, and a wishing plant! They drew their synthetic plants and added them to a desert scene.
Then the children used the images to write poetry inspired by synthetic biology. The art session began with a discussion on what is natural and what is man- made. After this children created a ‘relief’ in clay using cogs and made kinetic mobiles based on the DNA spiral structure that they decorated with different motifs.