Sci-Tech: GO! Session 3 Trip Day
by Amelia Lavranchuk, Program and Media Coordinator
At Sci-Tech, GO! only means one thing…trip day! Our unique trip day takes campers to locations where they can see the real world applications of the topics that they are exploring in their workshops. This session, campers departed for ten different locations in the greater Boston area. After an exciting morning of tagliot (discoveries), we regrouped to check out the Museum of Science, Boston. Campers took in the spectacular lightning show, learned about physics on a playground, and followed some dinosaur footprints. You can read more about each of the morning workshop trips below:
Digital Film Production had two amazing trips this session! All of our production track campers went to Redsky Studios, a local film production company. They got to see the sound stages where sets are built, see cool prop pieces from newly released movies and even some high-end equipment! They left with some really cool knowledge and some new light gels for the workshop.
Our technical track participants went to Zero FX, a video effects studio. They have created some of the amazing digital effects in local commercials and movies like Hardcore Henry! We got to watch a side by side comparison of before and after effects, learned how to rotoscope and paint, and discovered that they’re called “Zero” because if they’ve done their job well it will look like there are zero effects in the scene. The artists answered all the campers’ questions and were really cool!
The Video Game Design workshop visited MIT to hear about and play with the work of two renowned organizations: the MIT Game Lab (gamelab.mit.edu) and the Learning Games Network (LGN). After watching presentations by the leaders of both organizations about their recent leading-edge research and their design process, our group collaboratively played a level of LGN’s recently-revamped “Zoombinis” puzzle/math game. Then we split up for an improvised arcade: under the guidance of Game Lab researchers, half of the campers used tablets to play an innovative, team-based, macroeconomic simulation game with multiple levels of cooperation and competition; meanwhile, the rest of the campers chose to play one of LGN’s award-winning games or another novel multiplayer game being developed by the Game Lab. All this playful learning gave campers timely inspiration for play-testing, finalizing, and presenting their own games in the next few days!
Forensics campers enjoyed visiting the forensics department at the University of Boston Medical Center. While there, we met with forensics masters students who enlightened us about the many disciplines within forensic science. We learned about digital forensics, crime scene investigation, death investigation and many more. The student then worked with us to conduct some hands-on activities. We first lifted fingerprints from objects using black, white, and florescent fingerprinting dust. Then we did a presumptive test with saliva to test for DNA and finally, we looked at human bones to determine ancestry and age. The kids had a blast and were sad to leave!
Web & Graphic Design piled onto the bus with Programming and Coding and headed down the highway to Waltham. We visited Constant Contact, which is a company that helps both large and small businesses stay in contact with their customers through effective use of e-mail. Our workshop took part in a great activity that took us through the design process of an online pizza ordering app. We were tasked with determining what the app would need to do for both the person ordering the pizza and the business that would be making and delivering the pies, and even mocked up some of the screens that might appear in such an app. After a quick tour of the company we reboarded the bus and headed to the Boston Museum of Science.
BioZone visited LabCentral, a shared lab space for promising start up companies. LabCentral provides space, equipment and support for new companies with 1 to 8 scientists for a limited amount of time. They explained a bit about how they work and what they do, then gave us a tour of their labs, and their shared spaces such as freezer rooms, cafe, play room, work room and a nap corner. Then a couple of scientists who work there talked about their work and answered questions from the kids. The first scientist we heard from was Dan from Heprotech, who works on cirrhosis and shared his knowledge about the liver and chronic liver disease. Then we heard from Devon, a cancer researcher who talked about genetic engineering and cancer. Kids had endless questions for the scientists, showing curiosity and Respect for their work.
For trip day, Earth & Sky went to the Harvard Museum of Natural History. The extensive mineral collection fascinated the campers with the sheer number and size of mineral specimens from blue halite to rhodochrosite to meteorites and a gold nugget replica that would be worth $44 million! We were fortunate to see the Ware Collection of Blaschka Glass Models of Plants, an amazing exhibit showing botanically correct plants and flowers made entirely from glass. We also got a chance to go through their paleontological collection, taking pictures with mastodon skeletons and ancestors of whales. The campers’ favorite was the giant sloth fossil skeleton, it was more than 10ft tall!
The lower camp Robotics campers ventured to Jibo in downtown Boston. Jibo is the world’s first social robot. It is currently in its final stages of development and will be for sale this winter. The campers were given a demonstration of Jibo’s abilities and recorded their voices to help improve Jibo for the future. Tons of great questions were asked and everyone left with a sense of what robots in the real world look like. We hope to be back at Jibo soon!
The upper camp Robotics group went to DA/Pro Rubber. They are a custom plastic injection company. They got to experience testing first hand their new, $575,000 robot. It has the force to press two metal plates together at the force of 174 tons per square inch. It was not working at 100% efficiency, so everyone got to experience salvanut, patience in the real engineering world as they worked out the kinks with our kids. It was am amazing to see how many engineers came over from what they were do to have full conversations with our campers. The plant lead said, “We normally don’t have many school groups come here, but it fills my heart to see a group of students like this. Thank you for bringing them.” Everyone got to bring home a piece of material that they made in the plant. It was a great day!