20.20:Teacher Resources

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Instructors: Drew Endy and Natalie Kuldell


Homework dropbox for 20.020 here
Homework dropbox for 20.902/947 here

Presentation information

  1. 3 ideas presentation
  2. technical specification review
  3. final presentation

materials needed for teaching

week 1

  1. Project Runway
    • paper, paperclips, tape, pennies, pencils, scissors
    • link to response log
    • link for letter drop
  2. iGEM reviews
  3. copies of ppts from iGEM talks, computers for listening
  4. link for review drop
  5. take apart
    • hard copies of Comic to cue homework assignment
    • tape recorders (16), tools (#0 phillips, scissors, wire cutters), bags to store parts, duct tape was suggested to collect small pieces, sharpies/paper/pens
    • link to response log
    • link to pre-survey

week 2

  1. tape recorder reassembly: bring electrical or duct tape next time to re-attach broken wires, bring 2xAA batteries, tape to play when players successfully reassembled.
  2. poster session studio: need 18"x24" paper, printer paper, felt tip markers, pencils, rulers, masking tape, sharpies
  3. play decide: print out games (nanotech, genetic testing, climate change) onto proper colored sheets but do not cut. Instead, distribute sheets with scissors to allow students to cut and save just the cards they found most relevant. Depending on room, may also want to print out rules of play since screen not easy to see and tables too crowded for computers. Leave enough time so discussion can be recapped as well as policy.

week 3

week 4

  1. DNA isolation
    • Disposables: small white cups, larger clear plastic cups, coffee stirrerwater, ziplock bags for disposal, papertowels for spills
    • Reagents: wheat germ, liquid soap, meat tenderizer, baking soda, isopropanol
  2. casting gel
    • tupperware: small rectangular (9.5 fl oz), larger rectangular for running (3 cup size)
    • Lego: for each need 1 (10 by 1) or(10 by 2) piece, 2 (2 by 3) piece, 6 (1 by 2) tiles
    • for each gel: 1/2 L bottle of water, salt, baking soda, aquarium pH paper, microwave, agar agar
    • misc: masking tape, scissors, coffee stirrer, paper coffee cup for melting in microwave
  3. loading gel
    • glycerin, food coloring, coffee stirrer
  4. running gel
    • for each gel: 5 9V batteries

week 5

week 6


  1. MIT AV 3-7603
  2. Do not plan to also discuss paper with 20.902 students.
  3. 6 presentations took the full 3 hours-using 15 minutes for presentations, 5 minutes for questions, 5 minutes for feedback and turn around
  4. Need response clickers for the class and ppt for each presentation to save and then email to team members/advisors

Thursday lecture time

  1. Photocopy of Team Handbook pages on decision making (pgs 3-26 to 3-29 in 3rd edition)
  2. Photocopy of project organizer to identify the kinds of things they will be working on next

week 7

week 8

as well as pins + cardboard to pin into (or brass clips), scissors

week 9

Tuesday lecture time

  1. Material for check/hypothesis challenge from Judy Loundagin's lesson, here
  2. Material for soap/troubleshooting challenge from here.
    • need 12 packages of bars of soap, paper, cardboard, handwipes

Studio: Tech Spec Review

  1. MIT AV 3-7603
  2. Do not plan to also discuss paper with 20.902 students--move this to Thursday class time.
  3. 6 presentations took the full 3 hours-using 15 minutes for presentations, 5 minutes for questions, 5 minutes for feedback and turn around
  4. Need response clickers for the class?

week 10

week 11


patent 7 pdf

Extra Materials

Challenge (warm up): Lucky #13

Superstitions are beliefs that are widely held despite a lack of evidence to support them. But why not test some? Consider the superstitions below, choose one and think of a way you would test it. When others at your table are ready, share your ideas. One person at your table should record the ideas, and a different person should be ready to report back to the rest of the class.

  • An apple a day keeps the doctor away
  • Eating chocolate causes zits
  • Shaving your legs makes the hair grow back more densely
  • Drinking coffee will stunt a child's growth
  • If you catch a falling leaf on the first day of autumn, you wil not catch a cold all winter
  • Spit on a new bat before using it for the first time to make it lucky
  • If you blow out all the candles on your birthday cake with the first puff you will get your wish
  • A half onion placed under the bed of a sick personwill reduce the fever
  • If you swim right after eating you will get cramps


Not long ago when biology meant
looking and prodding and fixing what’s bent
there were armies of scientists working away
to list what they found
and to know life’s display

But not all was well as they tried to discover
how life could be programmed since some but not other
experiments worked and each person designed
their template for learning
as they were inclined

“Share!” said the engineers “and try to remember
that others will use your work only whenever
the tools you develop are standard and simple
think of most screwthreads and
think of the wheel.

Maybe in this way life by design
could work out of the box and others will find
lots of interesting ways to build up from the bottom
making useful new parts
then new systems. No problem!”

By combining devices in new and fun ways
the biologists builders could spend their workdays
learning what’s out there and making new widgets
to responsibly meet
the needs of our planet.