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-------During the University of Calgary Campus Fair, we held three main activities: making “biosaurs,” a pipetting competition, and guessing the number of tube caps in a bag. The “biosaurs” were crafted from sheets of foam, glitter, glue, and coloured pens and the kids seemed to be fascinated by the idea of bringing their bacteria to life by using different types of crafts.

-------For the pipetting competition, we provided kids with plastic pipettes, tubes, coloured water and pseudo-lab gear and had them compete by trying to fill the most tubes with water using pipettes. We were incredibly surprised at the number of kids wanting to participate in this competition and as such, we held multiple competitions to accommodate everyone. Everyone participating in the competition received some type of prize, including kind donations from one of our sponsors Alberta Ingenuity. After the competition, the pipettes and coloured water were left out so the kids could continue to play. This activity was very well received as the kids loved “dressing up like mad scientists!”

-------Lastly, we prepared a bag full of tube caps and asked kids to guess how many they thought there were in the bag. It seemed that the prize “Totally Wacky Scientist” captivated many kids because by the end of the day we had more than 100 kids attempt at guessing. This was simply one more initiative in order to promote iGEM and to generate interest in science for young kids.

-------While the kids were occupying themselves with our activities, the parents had a chance to take pictures and inquire about our project. Many parents had questions about iGEM and specifically our project. We were able to explain the connection between the “arts and crafts” bacteria and our project, as well as the objectives of our overall project along with any applications. Jen Hill, a representative from Alberta Ingenuity, dropped by our booth for a visit and was surprised to see how well we tailored our project to our audience.

-------Campus Fair was an opportunity to see how few people understood the concept of synthetic biology. We learned how much work is needed to accomplish our goal of establishing a strong synthetic biology community in Alberta. The kids seemed to have a lot of fun and were very excited to take the gloves, tubes and pipettes home with them. Through Campus Fair, it is our hope that the adults, parents and children were able to not only gain an appreciation of iGEM and synthetic biology, but also to enjoy themselves at our exhibit. More importantly, the team had tons of fun and we were able to interact and express our excitement about our project with others.

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