Synthetic biology has had profound effects on human life. It has provided more effective anti-malarial medicine, cheaper insulin, new useful bio-materials, and greener biofuels. However, much remains to be learned in order to synthesize proteins more efficiently. To explore the potential of the DIY biology movement to engage in meaningful synthetic biology bioinformatics research, we developed a bioinformatics workshop to study determinants of protein expression levels in plants. We extracted possible ribosome binding and translation initiation sequences and looked for correlations with experimentally determined protein levels, using publicly available data sets for the widely studied plants _Oryza sativa_ and _Arabidopsis thaliana_. The working group was open to the public and met every other week for 3 hours, typically starting with a short, relevant presentation followed by hands-on data work. We aim to develop, experimentally validate, and publish our consensus sequences, anticipating that our work will be useful for plant synthetic biology research. We hope our experience will serve as a model for future community projects that serve the dual purpose of educating curious members of the public while also generating useful scientific results.