This is a hands-on Building with Biology activity. Visitors learn about the ways synthetic biologists can solve problems through creativity and the engineering process. Visitors are first challenged to design a superhero (by attaching cut-out features to a paper template, or by drawing them on) to rescue a person falling from a tall building. Then, visitors use that same creative engineering process to design a single-celled organism to clean up an oil spill.
This is a hands-on activity in which visitors learn about the fundamental component of biology and synthetic engineering: DNA. In the activity, visitors will extract visible DNA from wheat germ, and create necklaces to display their own sample of wheat germ DNA.
This is a hands-on activity for Building with Biology, in which visitors explore the engineering aspect of synthetic biology by solving challenges through building a model cell with standardized genetic parts. Many genetic components can be used as part of the solution to multiple problems. Kits of standardized genetic parts—like "BioBricks"—are already being developed for real-world applications.
"Bio Bistro" is a card-based personal choice activity, in which visitors decide what current and future synthetic biology-based food products they would, would not, or might eat. They share their opinions on why they made each choice, and discuss what problems researchers are trying to solve with these foods, and what they like or don't like about these solutions.
This 7-minute video was developed as part of the Building with Biology project and is designed to help create conversations in museums among scientists and public audiences about the emerging field of synthetic biology and its societal implications.
Nano and Society Case Study of a Research-to-Practice Partnership between University Scientists and Museum Professionals - 2014
This case study conducted by SRI Education examined how complex and potentially controversial science ideas are translated for the public through a research-to-practice partnership between university scientists and museum professionals, collaborating to address a problem of educational practice, with mutual benefits.
Theoretical Physicist, Michio Kaku addresses the question of the possibility of utopia, the perfect society that people have tried to create throughout history. These dreams have not been realized because we have scarcity. However, now we have nanotechnology, and with nanotechnology, perhaps, says Dr. Michio Kaku, maybe in 100 years, we'll have something called the replicator, which will create enormous abundance. (5:42 min)
NanOpinion has developed an educational program in collaboration with scientists and teachers, which has been carried out in parallel to the European Consultation on nanotechnologies. The project brings together 17 partners from 11 countries with the aim of monitoring public opinion on what we hope from innovation with nanotechnologies.
This guide is focused on “three big ideas” that can provide a framework to help museum staff and visitors feel empowered to reflect on the relevance of nanotechnology in their lives through open-ended conversation. The guide considers how new nanotechnologies may affect people and the societies they live in and create. The three big ideas are illustrated with related videos and hands-on activities and further explored through very brief case studies of three nanospecific technologies, providing further examples of conversations that might occur on a museum floor.
Like all new technologies, nanotechnology has costs, risks, and benefits we cannot always predict. The Would You Buy That? stage presentation examines and explores ways our consumer behavior both impacts and is impacted by new technology. By looking at historical examples and current and future nanotechnologies, audience members weigh the risks versus the benefits and make group purchase decisions. Sometimes we need to stop and think more about a consumer decision.