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PANDEMIC OR HOW TO SAVE THE WORLD USING GENETIC ENGINEERING TECHNIQUES: LEARNING GENETIC ENGINEERING BY A GAME-BASED METHODOLOGY

Fundamentals of genetic engineering is an optional subject of the second year of the Degree in Biology at the Complutense University of Madrid. Its aim is an approach to the knowledge and application of genetic engineering techniques.

The main difficulties that Teachers find in this subject are:
i) that students arrive without the necessary molecular genetic knowledge to understand the fundamentals of the techniques,
ii) that students have problems at solving non-standardized exercises,
iii) the difficulty of teaching techniques that are mainly practical in a classroom and
iv) that students do not find the applicability and are demotivated shortly after starting the course.

For all these reasons, this project presents a didactic proposal taken into account the Flipped Classroom and the gamification methodologies to understand the techniques of genetic engineering. The project is based on the PANDEMIC board game (ASMODEE IBÉRICA), a cooperative game where a hypothetical situation is posed in which four deadly and strange diseases have appeared on earth, and the cure that will prevent the disappearance of humanity depends on a team of specialists. Players must cooperate to control the epidemics and control the progress of them in a given time: the team must stop the wave of infections while finding the cure.

Therefore, in this project, we will use the following pieces on the board:
- First Piece: The basis of the game. Teachers will elaborate on four Challenges (four contagious diseases) for the team of experts, a group of 5-6 students. Each team will have to pass several activities to get some points that will allow them to get an action to fight against the disease.
- Second Piece: The players. The participation of the students in this project is essential so that the contents are adapted to their needs and they also feel that they are part of the project. Students will be divided into teams and each team will be assigned a disease of which they have no information at all. Other important players apart from the teachers that will be involved in the project, are the instructors of practical classes and the laboratory technicians.
- Third Piece: The activities and the actions that students must take. The actions taken will be related to the techniques and objectives of the subject: obtaining and analyzing the genetic material, PCR, cloning, sequencing, etc. At the end of the course, each team will present its conclusions to the whole class through an infographic, presentation or poster with which to open a discussion.