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Building with Biology kit

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Building with Biology Kit

The Building with Biology kit is designed to help museum and scientist partners engage public audiences in conversations and hands-on activities about the field of synthetic biology and the ways this emerging technology is interconnected with society.

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Public Forums Manual

Public forums offer participants the opportunity to engage in thoughtful conversations about important issues regarding the potential societal and ethical implications of topics in current science, technology, and engineering. They provide a way for people with diverse views and backgrounds to deliberate on difficult issues and to seek a more comprehensive understanding of the topics. The purpose of this manual is to provide information on how to engage members of the public in thoughtful conversations about these important issues.

A guide to creating informal public conversations...

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Science Cafe Guide

Guide to hosting an event that brings scientists and the public together in an informal setting.

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Building with Biology logo -reverse

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Building with Biology online workshops (recorded)

To help support Summer 2016 Building with Biology event host sites, we're offering several upcoming professional development opportunities for host site staff, volunteers, and scientists. Online workshops will provide an overview on public forums, the contents in the Building with Biology physical kit, and event and forum evaluations. Project orientations, led by project partner the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), will help scientists learn the context for the Building with Biology project, prepare scientists to approach the hands-on activities as conversations...

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Should We Edit the Genome? forum

New tools—like "CRISPR"—are making it possible to edit DNA with great precision. Soon, we will be able to accurately alter targeted sections of the genome of other animals and plants, as well as our own DNA. But should we? In this forum, participants can discuss the positive and negative possibilities of altering genomes, along with their own hopes and fears around the technologies of synthetic biology.

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"Should We Engineer the Mosquito?" Forum

This is a Building with Biology forum in which participants have a chance to learn about a synthetic biology topic and then engage in a guided conversation and make a plan of action. In this case, the participants are both scientists and members of the public, the topic is genetically engineered mosquitoes, and the plan is a decision about whether to release genetically engineered mosquitoes in Mombasa, Kenya. Participants get the chance to practice critical thinking skills and apply them to a real-world socio-scientific issue.

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Building with Biology logo -reverse

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Online Workshop: Activities and Conversations about Synthetic Biology: The Building with Biology Project (Recorded)

During this brown-bag conversation, presenters provide a general introduction to the fast-growing field of biological engineering and describe a NSF-funded project that brings together professionals from the scientific community and informal science educators to create conversations between synthetic biology (or a related field) scientists and members of the public around the societal implications of this topic. Presenters share project details, including the fabrication of 200 Building with Biology free physical kits that will be distributed nationwide to support Summer 2016 Building with...

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Nanomedicine in Healthcare

This forum explores nanotechnology-enabled medical technologies and their potential to transform health care, while considering the societal, ethical, environmental and economic impacts of this emerging technology. This forum asks participants to consider and discuss two nanotechnology application scenarios and the possible opportunities, impacts, risks, and benefits. They will also have the opportunity to raise questions about the societal and environmental implications of nanotechnology to a panel of experts. Forum participants will deliberate...

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Energy Challenges, Nanotech Solutions?

This forum places participants in the role of a governmental funding agency and asks them to consider how nanotechnology should fit into the timeline and scope of future national energy policy. A scientific expert begins the forum by providing a brief intro to nanotechnology and describing some of its potential benefits and possible uncertainties. A short video follows with three expert perspectives who discuss three possible energy funding strategies: Nanotechnology-dependent energy technologies. Existing alternative energy technologies. Conservation and energy efficiency....

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Risks, Benefits and Who Decides?

This forum asks participants to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of three options. They will also have the opportunity to raise questions about the societal and environmental implications of nanotechnology to a panel of experts. Participants will work in small groups to form a group recommendation drawing from the options presented—perhaps adding or combining elements, or creating a totally new option representing your group’s view on the issue. They are not limited to the three options presented for discussion. If the group cannot reach agreement on a recommendation, have...

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