Programs

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There’s no place quite like Sci-Tech! At 6 Points Sci-Tech Academy, our staff members create and use incredible curricula, created in partnership with education experts, to guide campers in bringing to life the questions that capture their imaginations. Using a hands-on, project-based approach, campers learn and create in a collaborative environment. Campers choose one primary track, or “Workshop,” where they spend a total of 2½ hours throughout each day, in addition to exploring the world through our amazing counselor-led chugim (electives) and outdoor recreational periods like Sababa.

Workshops are taught by our lead instructors, who are professionals in their field and/or professional educators (such as science teachers) who bring both a passion for the subject and experience working with children. They are supported by college-age counselors majoring in fields of science and technology and actively engaged in learning and research. These amazing counselors also develop and lead our incredible chugim (electives)!

Sci-Tech is open to campers entering grades 5-10, with a special rising 11th-grade unit offered during 3rd session only and a full-summer Machon Teen Leadership program for rising 12th graders.

Workshops

Robotics

In the Robotics Workshop, our campers become engineers, bringing their ideas to life through hands-on building and computer programming. Learning from experienced instructors, campers use a wide variety of tools to explore the mechanics of robots and the programming necessary to make them work. Campers are divided by grades and/or skill level into groups to create an age-appropriate program that is both intellectually stimulating and challenging!

Beginning campers will learn the basics of robot construction and programming. Working with gears, sensors, and motors, they teach their robots to accomplish a series of smaller challenges. Once they’ve mastered moving, turning, and sensing colors and distance, the campers collaborate to work on larger projects. Examples include Robot Soccer, Robot Tic-Tac-Toe, or a Rube Goldberg machine – a whimsical device using their robots to complete a basic task in the most convoluted way possible.

Campers attending for multiple years in robotics or more experienced campers have an opportunity to develop their learning further, where they will use similar tools with more complex modeling and programming with new projects and challenges. As campers move beyond the basic functions of robotics, they will begin to learn more about gear ratios, as well as more in-depth programming that combines visual programming with coding in Robot C, a common programming language used for Robotics programming. With a greater understanding of robot mechanics, campers can customize their electrical circuitry and designs to create even more intricate robots.

Our program uses the VEX Robotics platform, a popular and advanced platform for robotics competitions.

Video Game Design

Video games are the entertainment medium of the 21st century, with a global audience of almost 3 billion, made up of a wide variety of ages and genders, and an industry revenue that surpasses even Hollywood’s! Living at the intersection of technology and art, video game design is one of the most exciting, expanding, and far-reaching skills to learn in the modern age.

Our Video Game Design Workshop teaches the craft of game design, giving you the skills needed to creatively bring your story or adventure to life. Our workshop begins with a templated digital design mini-project to acquaint campers with the available development tools. Next, campers form small teams to dig deep into the principles and practices of game design, starting with a game concept description; novel concepts are encouraged and supported through tabletop (paper-based) mock-ups. Each team brings its vision to a playable prototype, through a simulation of the process followed by professional game designers, using a variety of digital development tools and methods. Working collaboratively, every camper on the team has a role in creating the story, characters, player mechanics, environment, and other elements of their game.

Campers will also think about how games reflect the values of the game developers who made them, and how Sci-Tech values come into play when we seriously consider the meaning of our games.

There is a wide array of tools to work with, so even returning campers or experienced developers will be challenged to discover and grow their skillsets. While the software we use changes each year, the primary game engines used in last summer’s workshop included Scratch (great for a variety of 2D games), CoSpaces (for easy collaboration on block-coded 3D games), and BlocksmithXR (for the realism and flexibility of Unity but an easier learning-curve).

Join us this summer and use your passion for play to create the games you’ve always wanted to see in the world!

Programming & Coding: Python

Whether you love the challenge of programming logic puzzles or enjoy the thrill of creating software that can improve the world, the Programming and Coding workshop is the right place for you this summer! In our Programming and Coding workshop, you’ll not only learn the most sought-after skill in the 21st century, but you’ll also have fun in an environment that’s all about curiosity, playfulness, and logic.

This summer we will be learning the Python programming language! Everyone is talking about Python and for good reason. With an exponentially growing community around data science, machine learning, Artificial Intelligence, web development, and more, Python is a language that opens programming access to the world. In the realm of server-side software languages, Python is considered easy to read, write, and learn. Plus, it’s extremely scalable. The world’s largest companies run on it, like Netflix, Instagram, and Spotify. It’s also great for the quick prototypes our campers will be making at camp!

Campers with little experience in programming will learn the ins and outs of different software to think like a programmer, and by the end of the session, they’ll have a working prototype they can share with friends and family. More advanced campers can build on their existing knowledge to develop increasingly more complex programs.

Digital Film Production

In the Digital Film Production workshop, campers take ownership of the entire movie creation process. From character development and scriptwriting to directing, shooting, and editing, campers in DFP have the opportunity to engage in all aspects of film production and creatively explore a whole new world of storytelling. Younger campers and those new to film production form production teams to write, film, and edit their film together with our professional-level equipment and specialist instructors.

More experienced campers in our upper camp workshop have the opportunity to develop advanced skills and focus on technical tricks and the editing process through a more hands-on and individualized filmmaking process. Campers have the option to make a creative short film in our Tech Track while learning complex techniques in areas such as cinematography, green-screening, VFX, lighting, color grading, motion graphics, and more. These campers will have more room to play with an individual idea rather than a larger group project.

Digital Film Production provides a unique combination of technology and art. Our campers learn to effectively use technology – from our video cameras and microphones to diverse and advanced computer software options – to realize their artistic visions. Our instructors work with campers to write scenes, create shot lists, execute multiple camera angles, adjust for lighting, and direct their movies.

Once the footage is filmed, campers use professional tools in the Adobe professional suite to develop hands-on experience in editing and VFX, music scoring, and sound effects. Through this project-based creation process, campers grow their skillset and explore the amazing world of digital film production.

The Science of Food

Discover how a pinch of curiosity and a dash of science are the key ingredients in our food science workshop! There are so many different types of learning all rolled into this one-of-a-kind Sci-Tech experience! Food science is the applied science devoted to the study of food that draws from biology, chemistry, nutrition, engineering, and biochemistry, just to name a few!

In this workshop, you will learn about the chemical building blocks of food, such as proteins, carbohydrates, fats, and water, and the reactions they undergo during processing, cooking, and storage. There are so many things to discover when it comes to food!

Of course, no Sci-Tech meal is complete without a healthy portion of tikkun olam! As our burgeoning food scientists at Sci-Tech study the physical, microbiological, and chemical makeup of food to learn how to create safe, nutritious, and delicious meals, they’ll also learn about the ethics of food and hunger. Food is a central part of Judaism and learning more about the scientific and ethical aspects of your food is sure to expand your Jewish knowledge (and your stomach!).

Come join us and dig into the smorgasbord of science behind the food we eat every day!

Digital Art Lab

In Digital Art Lab, campers will be diving into their imaginations by exploring and experimenting with the connections between art and technology.

Technology is increasingly recognized as a useful and valued tool that aids in the creative process. It is also an emerging new medium ripe for exploration and experimentation, and there’s nothing Sci-Tech loves more than a good experiment! Develop and improve your graphic design skills while mastering professional design tools. Campers will start out exploring the fundamentals of graphic design, using the Adobe Creative Suite and other fun and creative technology tools, while exploring digital illustration techniques like manipulating layers and filters. Campers will also gain a practical understanding of the ethics behind digital experimentation, especially as it relates to copyright and content ownership.

By the end of the session, campers will leave with the beginnings of a project for their portfolios as well as knowledge of different software and internet tools they can use from home after camp ends. This workshop is all about curiosity and playfulness, so consider this your invitation to turn your imagination into a technical reality!

*Drawing experience is beneficial, but not required to enjoy the Digital Art Lab Workshop.

Marine Science

Did you know that it’s easier to send a person up into space than it is to send them down to the bottom of the ocean? Water covers more than 70 percent of the planet’s surface, driving weather, regulating temperature, and ultimately supporting all living organisms. Yet for all our reliance on the ocean, more than eighty percent of this vast, underwater realm remains unmapped, unobserved, and unexplored!

Much remains to be learned from exploring the mysteries of the deep. Mapping, describing, and understanding the physical, biological, geological, chemical, and archaeological aspects of the ocean is a huge undertaking! To understand the dynamics of marine ecosystems we must develop and apply new technologies, strategies, and skills. There’s a lot of questions left to ask in the field of marine science!

Located near a thriving marsh ecosystem, Byfield offers a unique setting for hands-on marine adventures and fieldwork. While we won’t be diving into the marsh (you’ll learn why we don’t swim in the marsh as part of this workshop!), campers will still do a deep dive into some of the planet’s most mysterious ecosystems.

Special Workshops

Cryptology *Upper Camp Only*

Ready to try your hand at real-world code-breaking? Think like a mathematician and a secret agent by cracking ciphers and discovering secrets, all while improving your math and analytic skills!

Secret writing has been employed for about as long as writing has existed. Ciphers, or coded text, have been used throughout history whenever people wanted to keep messages private. You might know of some famous examples, like the Enigma Machine during World War II! Cryptology continues to be used by governments, military, businesses, and organizations to protect their messages. Today, encryption is used in cyber security to protect the storage of data and transactions between computers. If you’ve ever used a password on your computer, that means you’ve experienced the benefits of 21st-century cryptology!

During this upper camp-only workshop, campers will cooperatively discover clues and solve puzzles. Your mission (should you choose to accept it) will include learning about ciphers, ancient cryptology, modern cryptology, and the mathematical theory behind cryptoanalysis so you can crack codes and even create your own.

Sci-Techkun Olam: Teen Leadership Incubator *SESSION 3 ONLY* *RISING 11TH GRADERS ONLY*

Rising 11th Graders are invited to come further the Union for Reform Judaism’s mission of creating a more whole, just, and compassionate world through their passion for science and technology! When talking about Flint’s water crisis, green energy, or equitable vaccine access, social justice and the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math often go hand in hand.

What’s the science behind the headlines? Why is Mark Zuckerberg from Facebook talking in front of Congress all the time? Why do some social media sites have kinder comments sections than others? What technologies can we invent to make an impact on people’s lives? How can we take our science from the lab to real-world policy changes? How can we build more inclusive and diverse STEM communities? The questions are seemingly endless!

In this workshop, teens will express their passion for scientific inquiry and technological innovation through investigations rooted in real-world problems. Throughout the session, teens will be exposed to societal challenges and provided with experiential support in exploring possible resolutions to seemingly insurmountable systematic problems.

Together let’s practice tikkun olam and repair the world through STEM!

*This is for Yottabytes (i.e. rising 11th graders) ONLY and will only be offered during 3rd session.”

Taste of Camp: Discovery Lab *SESSION 3 ONLY* *RISING 4TH + 5TH GRADERS ONLY*

Rising 4th and 5th graders are invited to get a taste of camp in this 6-day mini session. Campers will experience modules of the most popular workshops at camp, including Robotics, Digital Film, Sciences, and Video Game Design to help them discover their passions in science and technology. Campers will also get to explore a number of the chugim (electives) at camp, and experience the one-of-a-kind Sci-Tech Shabbat as a part of their time at camp.

The instructor for this special Taste of Camp workshop is Dr. Sam Kazer, a Research Fellow at Boston Children’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School. Sam has been involved every summer at camp, starting as a Pioneer staff member, and now serving as Vice Chair of the Sci-Tech Camp Council.

*This is for rising 4th & 5th graders ONLY and will only be offered during the first part of 3rd session: July 26 – July 31.

Chugim

Campers also choose two chugim (pronounced hoo-GEEM, meaning electives) each week. This provides campers with the opportunity to explore new areas of interest. Our chugim are taught by our amazing counselors, who work with our directors and education consultants to bring their passions to the campers. Examples of past chugim include:

  • Chemistry
  • Physics
  • 3D Design & Printing
  • Rubik’s Cube Solving
  • Flight and RC Airplanes
  • Magic
  • Java Programming
  • Python Programming
  • Medical Biology
  • Cryptology
  • LARPing
  • Rocketry
  • Ukulele
  • Food Science
  • Virtual Worlds (using Minecraft)
  • Arduino Programming

Chugim are selected by our campers once they arrive at camp. Chugim change from summer to summer and even from week to week, meaning that there’s always something new to discover whether you’re at camp for two weeks or six! Allowing campers to choose these chugim gives them the freedom to explore interests they may not have even thought about before camp and allows our campers to select activities with others who share the same interests. We often use chugim to experiment with new and fun activities, bringing campers into a mindset of exploration and discovery. 

Example Daily Schedule

 Lower CampUpper Camp
7:00 amBoker TovSleeping
7:30BREAKFASTBoker Tov & Nikayon
8:15Boker Big Bang
8:40NikayonBREAKFAST
9:20WorkshopChug 1
Sababa
10:50SababaWorkshop
Chug 1
12:40 pmLUNCH
1:30Menucha (Rest Hour)
2:30KinestheticsKinesthetics
3:30Chug 2Workshop
4:30WorkshopChug 2
5:30DINNERDinner Prep
6:30Evening ProgramDINNER
8:45Bedtime PrepEvening Program
9:15BedtimeBedtime Prep
10:00Bedtime