The International Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM) competition is the premiere undergraduate Synthetic Biology competition. Student teams are given a kit of biological parts at the beginning of the summer. Working at their own schools, they use these parts and new parts of their own design to build biological systems and operate them in living cells. This project design and competition format is an exceptionally motivating and effective teaching method.
Examples of past iGEM projects include everything from bacterial sacks of hemoglobin that work as artificial blood to cheap biosensors for testing ground water for arsenic.
If you are interested in becoming involved in this summer's CU iGEM team, please send an email to iGEM@colorado.edu.
Read the team's wiki page at: http://2012.igem.org/Team:CU-Boulder