Blog  Session 3 TECHtalks: Living our 6

Session 3 TECHtalks: Living our 6

Session 3 TECHtalks: Living our 6

This year we added a sixth value to our core values – the one that each member of our community bring themselves. Throughout the past 3 summers, our 5 core values of  Patience, Curiosity, Discovery, Connection, and Respect, have been exhibited and discussed in all aspects of camp. They are seen through discoveries in workshops, connections made between science and tech and Judaism at our Boker Big Bang each morning, respect we give to our hall mates and friends, the curiosity that leads us to ask question and try new activities and the patience we need as we collaborate and struggle to create our innovations. While we still focus on our 5 core values, we also recognize that each camper and staff member brings special, unique values that make our community whole and therefore added this sixth value.

Every session ends with TECHtalks, an exhibit of each campers amazing workshop projects and innovations. At TECHtalks, campers show of their creations and explore those of other workshops: playing with the Robotics robots, getting exams from our Biozone doctors, watching the Digital Film Productions, playing games from Video Game Design, testing the applications created by Programming and Coding, exploring the planetarium built by Earth and Sky, examining evidence from Forensics and watching the 3D Animation clips. Through our TECHtalks, it is apparent how important each of our values is to the campers’ workshop success.


In robotics this session campers gained many new skills in design and engineering, while also growing as teammates and leaders. Campers collaborate in teams to create a concept for their robot and put a design plan in place, then use mechanical and problem solving skills to turn that vision into a robot that completes a challenge. Our camp value of Savlanut (patience), is very important as they troubleshoot challenges during building. The games this year ranged from tic-tac-toe to building model greenhouses to grow food on their “kibbutz.” This session our two 10th graders had the privilege of spending the session building a Rube Goldberg Machine – a complex mechanism of cascading reactions meant to perform one simple task – in this case, creating a smoking smashed computer tower using a sledge hammer and dry ice. In every workshop period our Robotics participants demonstrated camp’s core values by showing patience with their partners and with their designs, creating connections between old knowledge and new skills, asking great questions and sharing in celebrating new discoveries, and practicing respect towards our equipment, their peers, and themselves. Our campers really “Lived their 6,” as we encourage each student to be the best self, authentic and live by their own moral guidelines as well as camp’s. They learn so much, not only from their instructors, but from each other, and we learn from them as well. During Tech Talks, all of the students were able to show off their robots to their friends in other workshops who could test drive them. Every student was so proud to show what they had achieved this session.



BioZone MD had an incredible session, discovering how doctors solve cases and help cure patients. Our junior doctors at Sci-Tech learned how to take a patient’s history and ask the right questions, as well as many physical exam maneuvers, like taking blood pressure, using stethoscopes to listen to the patient’s heart and lungs, and an extensive neurological exam. We looked at x-rays, CT scans, MRIs, and endoscopy videos to see inside out patients, and even used an ultrasound machine on our counselors! The campers also looked at blood smears and urinalyses to help diagnose the cases and figure out the right solution. With help from our faculty, we discussed the Jewish ethics of organ donation and the value of pikuach nefesh, or saving a life, and even got to see a lab hub for biotech startups on trip day! At TECH Talks, our BioZone physicians performed quick check-ups on their hallmates – blood pressure, temperature, pulse oximetry, and a brief neuro exam to round out the physical. The future of the medical world is in good hands!



Digital Film Production is, at it’s simplest, a creative engineering workshop, but at it’s truest, a community, a family, a living classroom, and a home. The members of our DFP Family grow a bit every day – as individuals, as team-members, as engineers, and as artists. We begin every sessions building team dialog and encouraging creativity and idea formation for script writing. We move into the more technical skills next, including how to use a camera, cinematography techniques, acting for camera, and how to best record audio. We also teach every student how to use professional editing software and best practices for creating clean, professional looking edits. Once the “work” is completed, we encourage students to take on projects of their own interest including Photoshop creations, creating music in Garageband, compiling a blooper reel, or anything else they want to work on. DFP gives space for individuality and authenticity while teaching the necessary skills to collaborate in groups and share a common goal. Everyday we “Live Our 6” – expressing camp’s six core values through our actions, words, and work ethic. Each camper bring unique values, some campers may be their best through compassion or humility, while others may driven by leadership and honesty. Whatever value THEY bring to camp, we welcome and foster with pride. In DFP each camper can be their best self – that’s what makes us the DFP Family. We had a record breaking EIGHT final projects this session!


The focus of Earth & Sky this summer was astronomy and astrophysics, and it was out of this world! We started off with replicating fundamental physics experiments from gravity to light and magnetism, moved onto planetary exploration, and then finished the session with construction of our own planetarium! The session began with defining the universe by the basic forces that hold it together — the strong nuclear force, the weak force, electromagnetism, and gravity. We did experiments showing the strength (or lack thereof) of each force, and how they are used in observing the universe. We moved on to planetary exploration, and what we have learned about our own Solar System and the bodies in it. We even learned two ways to safely view the upcoming total solar eclipse! Finally, since all of our workshops were during the day, we made a planetarium so all of camp could view the night sky, complete with constellations and a projection show! The camp loved visiting our planetarium during TECHtalks and learning about all the constellations. 


Forensics workshop was such a blast this session! We role-played as forensic scientists to learn about a variety of forensic sub-disciplines while investigating human bones found in the woods at camp. During investigation, we learned about how to properly secure a crime scene and collect evidence. We learned about and then recreated activities performed by forensic anthropologists, psychologists, ballistics examiners, and trace evidence analysts. Other days included activities related to blood spatter, DNA, fibers and hairs, and impression evidence. We made lots of messes to understand how to retrace offenders’ actual steps and psychological motivations to bring justice to the world.

This session, our students were cohesive as a collective and each brought their collective life experiences, personal skills, and theoretical insights to class to solve a murder case. This year’s investigation started with revelation of bones found in a shallow grave on campus. The case connected in mysterious ways to last years’ investigation, so students from summer 2016 explained the strange details of the previous year’s missing person case to our new students. All students were also filled in by “news reports” by Nadia Newsworthy on channel 6 On Point News. While learning investigative skills on the job, our students were able to follow the clues, analyze the evidence, and reveal that our victim, later identified as Michael Trippinfall, was the brother of the missing person from last year’s investigation, Tom Trippinfall. We were then able to bring the offender to justice, but capturing the offender has only revealed more unanswered questions about a secret society for next summer!


This summer, campers in the Programming & Coding workshop learned the fundamentals of computer programming by coding in Java! We started out by learning concepts and getting the computer to say “Shalom World!”, and built up to variables, types, conditionals, loops, and objects. These skills are common to all programming languages and will be useful no matter what languages campers choose to use in the future. After learning the basics, we used Swing, a Java library for making Graphical User Interfaces (GUIs), to create desktop applications and games. We saw a whole spectrum of final projects, including quizzes, a Sorting Hat, a fidget spinner program, a music player, and more. Finally, everyone had a chance to show off their projects to all of camp at TECH Talks!



During this session, campers in the Videogame Design workshop collaborated in small teams to design and develop a new game of their own choosing. Starting with an exploration of key game design elements, campers reflected on how games incorporate problem-solving along with Jewish principles and practices such as sakranut (curiosity), taglit (discovery), and savlanut (patience). After investigating the available development tools, campers forged connections (kesher!) by teaming up for the session-long project. Just like professional game designers, they brainstormed a game concept and tested it by making a tabletop mock-up. In the main phase of the project, campers used the digital tools to create and play-test a working prototype of their game, while documenting their development difficulties and triumphs in our wiki; even if using an already-familiar tool, campers extended their proficiency with it. Finally, at the conclusion of the session, each team wrote and performed a “pitch”/demo presentation in front of their fellow designers.


Our 3D animators were taught the 12 fundamental principles of animation.  2 to 3 of these principles each day were applied into their project using the program provided. In order for our campers to get a comprehensive understanding of each principle, we discovered the through many methods. We showed a brief video about each principle, and an additional video displaying an application, and then we acted out the principle as a group. We led the campers in using the 3D animation software, AutoDesk Maya, to illustrate how we can achieve these principles within the virtual 3D world.


As you can see, we had an action packed summer, learning, experiencing and creating together in workshops and as a Sci-Tech community. In addition to our time spent innovating in our workshops, we also had many fun and exciting special events, trips, shabbat experiences, and Boker Big Bangs. Check out highlights from our summer in our Session 3 Slideshow below. We can’t wait to hear about how you put your new workshop skills to the test during the year, and see you back at camp next summer!

Author: rlandman

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