Life Science and Technology News
Tokyo Tech's School of Life Science and Technology hosted the 14th BioCon, or bio-creativity contest for high school students, and the 15th Bio-Creativity Design Contest 2022 online on January 22.
The BioCon is a competition where high schoolers from around Japan develop learning materials regarding life and the natural world for elementary and middle school students. Each team is supported by teaching assistants from Tokyo Tech. The Bio-Creativity Design Contest is the culmination of the Advanced Bio-Creative Design course for 2nd- and 3rd-year Tokyo Tech students. Heavily focused on group work, this course encourages students to develop and design a bio-related creation that addresses some current societal issue.
These two contests have been held jointly since 2020. After the high school and university teams present their creations, judges first evaluate the BioCon participants. After this, the judges evaluate both the university teams and the best high school teams joining the Bio-Creativity Design Contest.
This year, eleven teams from eight high schools and four teams from Tokyo Tech participated.
Each of the following teams gave a 12-minute presentation which included a short Q&A session. When presenting their teaching materials, many teams gave particular attention to the fact that participating elementary and middle school students were online and could not physically access any of the materials.
While viewing the posters created by the teams, the participants, judges, and presenters were all able to interact during the online poster session. This gave participants a chance to address further questions that could not be answered during the presentations, and provided judges and Tokyo Tech faculty members to offer further comments and advice.
After the presentations, approximately 20 young students, mostly from elementary school, were invited to test out the groups' creations during the traditional bio-play session. Despite the online environment, the youngsters were able to experience the bioscience and biotechnology creations while talking with the group members.
This year, two Tokyo Tech faculty members and six evaluators from outside the Institute selected winners and runners-up in the competitions. Students, faculty members, and bio-play session participants cast their votes to determine the winners of the Audience Award and Poster Presentation Awards.
This year, Team Migratory from Sagamihara Secondary School was selected as both the recipient of the Audience Award and the overall winner of the BioCon contest. Their work on migratory birds were praised as high-quality teaching materials that incorporated both analog and digital techniques.
After the contests had finished, the members of all the teams freely exchanged opinions with the judges, faculty members, and other students.
For the second year running, both the BioCon and Bio-Creative Design Contest were held fully online. Despite the additional challenges of creating for and working in an online environment, these team-focused challenges again resulted in exciting, informative teaching materials that show great potential for further use in the future.
Tokyo Institute of Technology iGEM is supported by Tokyo Tech Fund