The team must consist of high school students and team leaders. The team leaders can be a high school teacher, college professor, industry professional, or any combination. The number of high school students is up to the team leader. The team can consist of students from one school or from multiple schools. The only requirement is that the students are high school students (freshmen, sophomore, juniors, seniors) during the iGEM season of January to June.
Every participant in the iGEM 2012 High School competition must have a user account on iGEM.org. Register for one here!
Each team must submit a signed consent form for all participants. The documents must be mailed to iGEM who will maintain this documentation. Because the high school division is open to minors who will have an online identity and because synthetic biology can be considered ethically controversial, participants (guardians if under 18 years old) must sign off on participation. School principals must also sign off on their school's participation.
Each team is responsible for proper documentation of their project. Each team will complete a wiki, poster, and 20 minute presentation. These will be judged during the Jamboree allowing the judges to choose the winners. Be creative!
Listed below are different divisions that your team should focus on during the building of your machine. These divisions should be shown on the wiki, poster, and during the team's presentation.
- The most important part of the competition is the machine. Your team will go through the engineering process to design your machine. Part of the engineering process is the purpose. Your team will need to describe the purpose of your machine and clearly inform the judges in your presentation and wiki.
- The wetlab is the section that most of the students love but then find out what a tedious process it really is. Make sure that you keep it exciting for your students. If that means you watch movies while your thermocycler is going or your students are multi-tasking, it is important that as a team leader you keep it exciting for them.
- Standardization, characterization, and computations:
- Once your machine works, how do you know it works? What are the standards you will use to compare your results? Do you have to create those standards to show performance? How do you know the DNA is the required DNA? Can you model your plasmid’s performance before you actually build? These are question that every team will face and will hopefully get through during their project. Make sure that your team looks at how to prove your machine actually works.
- Each team will need to look at safety in the lab and with your machine. What would happen if your machine is released into the environment? Will your machine cause harm to the environment or living organisms? What precautions will your team take to contain the machine? Will your machine have a stop switch or only work with certain chemicals? What safety standards are you taking in the lab to protect students and the machine?
- Human Practices:
- What does the community know about genetic engineering? In today’s environment there is confusion and misunderstanding when it comes to GMO’s. What will your team do to help educate the public about synthetic biology? Will your team talk to the community? Will your team work with children to show genetic engineering? What about the ethics of genetic engineering? Could your team do a debate about the ethics behind genetic engineering? The human practices portion of iGEM should be fun and exciting for the team members. Be creative!