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 4-10, with a special rising 11th-grade unit offered during 3rd session only and a full-summer Machon Teen Leadership program for rising 12th graders. We also have a five day Taste of Camp program for rising 4th graders during Session 3 for our youngest campers looking to experiment with what Sci-Tech has to offer!
In the Metsch Family 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.
Come hone your skills as a game designer and learn the art of crafting play in Game Design this summer! This year's theme in Video Game Design is the GAME JAM!
Games hold a special place in the world, with play being one of the most unifying and barrier-breaking activities we can partake in. Designers love to challenge one another and collaborate to make bigger and bolder ideas than would be possible otherwise. This year, we get a glimpse into these ideas with one of the design community’s favorite tools: the Game Jam.
A game jam is a dedicated design marathon, usually accompanied by a time limit and a theme. Teams built of all sorts of developers will crack into that theme, trying to showcase it in an inventive and exciting way. This can be anything from cards to Virtual Reality worlds, artistic expressions to technical video game triumphs, and truly every step in between. For lifelong designers and first-timers alike, game jams are one of the most effective and fun ways to improve your skill and see the creativity of your peers.
In the workshop, we’ll be participating in a jam altogether. We’ll start out learning and practicing some principles of design and then get into the development phase. The campers will be encouraged to and assisted in forming teams based on their interpretation of the theme (which will be announced partway through each session). These teams will then get to use whatever tools they see fit to bring that idea into a playable reality. While almost any software is on the table, this workshop has had particular success with Scratch and Construct, so those are the recommended platforms to make a digital game on (although more advanced coders can use more advanced systems if they have familiarity with them)! There is space for campers of all interests and experience levels on a game development team, so don’t feel like you would have nothing to bring! No prior coding or game development experience is required!
Above all else, a game jam is about the expression of your creativity and challenging yourself to be the best designer you can be. Join us this summer and use your passion for play to create the games you’ve always wanted to see in the world!
*This workshop focuses primarily on the creative design process when it comes to making games. It does not focus on playing video games or programming! Game Design involves a lot more than just programming, so campers who sign up for this workshop should be open to doing all aspects of the game design process! Even campers who create digital games will spend some days “off computer” crafting their ideas and prototypes. For campers who want to focus exclusively on programming and leveling up their coding skills, we suggest taking the Programming and Coding workshop!
Whether you love the challenge of programming a web app 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.
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.
Have you ever wondered how living organisms, like yeast, contribute to the building blocks of life? Join us to uncover the secrets of biochemistry through hands-on exploration and experimentation.
In this unique workshop, campers will collaborate in small lab groups, mirroring the dynamics of a real research environment. Together, they'll unravel the mysteries of yeast as a sample organism, delving into its cellular processes, biomolecules, and interactions that shape the living world. Through interactive experiments, campers will investigate topics such as enzymatic reactions, fermentation, molecular synthesis, and the role of biomolecules like DNA.
As campers engage in these explorations, they will not only deepen their understanding of biochemistry but also cultivate skills in formulating hypotheses, designing experiments, and interpreting results—a fundamental aspect of the scientific method. This workshop aims to inspire young minds to appreciate the remarkable complexities of life at the molecular level and how the insights gained from biochemistry can contribute to a brighter future for our world.
Everywhere we look today involves something created using the skills of a digital artist. From phones to digital billboards, and business cards to posters, the tools of digital art help convey messages, information, ideas and feelings.
Campers will explore the fundamentals of digital art, such as symmetry, color, composition, and more. This workshop will allow campers to learn some of the most commonly used professional digital art tools, including Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator. Learning techniques such as manipulating layers, using filters, and creating vector illustrations will allow campers to begin expressing their ideas and creativity in a visual medium.
By the end of the session, campers will have the knowledge of different artistic principles, concepts, and tools, as well as the beginnings of a portfolio of designs and projects they can share will family and friends. No previous experience or artistic skills are necessary for this workshop, and campers of all skill levels will have the opportunity for growth and exploration!
Explore the wonders of the plant kingdom in our Botanical Sciences workshop. Through hands-on activities and interactive experiments, campers will delve into plant anatomy, photosynthesis, and biodiversity. They'll discover the cultural significance of plants, learn plant taxonomy, and conduct some scientific research and fieldwork both inside the workshop and outside in the diverse ecosystem of Byfield!
In this workshop, participants will dissect plants, examine cellular structures, and observe plant adaptations in the local ecosystems of camp. They'll unlock the mysteries of photosynthesis, explore diverse plant species, and gain insights into how plants have been culturally utilized throughout history. In addition to honing their scientific know-how, campers with a desire for hands-on creativity can explore that through a variety of plant-based mediums, such as botanical illustration and modeling, plant pressing, and plant pigment artwork. Campers will leave this workshop with specimens for their own personal herbarium, as well as the knowledge and skills needed to continue their field research at home in their own neighborhoods! This immersive workshop aims to ignite curiosity about the natural world around us and inspire a lasting appreciation for the intricate world of plants.
Special Workshops & Programs
Behavioral Sciences *Upper Camp Only*
Who are you? Why are you considering this workshop? What are you thinking right now? And what exactly are “thoughts” anyways?! Just like the ancient rabbis, modern behavioral scientists ask questions about the human mind every day, and use “human subjects research” to answer all sorts of questions about how people think, learn, and make decisions! But what exactly is a human subjects research experiment? And how do we conduct research on the human mind without becoming mad evil scientists?
In this workshop, campers will learn about the different types of experiments scientists use to understand the mind and the brain! We’re going to design our own human behavior experiments and see what we can learn about our camp community and our friends! Campers will become authentic researchers by analyzing the data from their own experiments. We’re even going to practice the ancient Jewish art of “peer review!”
This summer, explore the world, wielding nothing but the scientific method, and become an adventurer of cognitively epic proportions. Bravely dive deep into the most mysterious depths of all… our minds! We’re so PSYCHED to see you in this special-edition workshop!
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 ONLY for Yottabytes (i.e. rising 11th graders) and is exclusively offered during 3rd session. This is the only workshop in which 11th graders are able to participate.
Taste of Camp: Discovery Lab *SESSION 3 ONLY* *RISING 4TH GRADERS ONLY*
Rising 4th 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, and Sciences 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.
*This is for rising 4th graders ONLY and will only be offered during the first part of 3rd session: July 23 - July 28.
Machon (CIT) Teen Leadership *RISING 12TH GRADERS ONLY*
At URJ 6 Points Sci-Tech Academy, we create experiences that allow our campers and now teens to grow through science inquiry, Jewish discovery, leadership, and fun. Our Machon Teen Leadership program, which means “Foundation” as well as “Institute,” gives our teens the opportunity to build community, teach, and become effective leaders and change agents at camp, in STEM, and beyond.
The program’s goals are to create opportunities for personal and professional growth, provide hands-on leadership experience and STEM education skill-building, to give back to the 6 Points Sci-Tech community as a leader and role model, and to impact camp in a meaningful way, all while adding depth to their resumes and completing community service hours.
There are three main areas of focus: training, leadership, and innovation.
*This is for rising 12th graders ONLY.
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:
- 3D Design & Printing
- Rubik’s Cube Solving
- Flight Simulator and Drones
- Java Programming
- Python Programming
- Medical Biology
- 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.
To see some chugim in action, check out this blog post.
Example Daily Schedule
|Lower Camp||Upper Camp|
|7:00 am||Boker Tov (wake up)||Sleeping|
|7:30||BREAKFAST||Boker Tov & Nikayon|
|8:15||Boker Big Bang|
|8:40||Nikayon (room clean up)||BREAKFAST|
|10:50||Sababa (free time)||Workshop|
|Chug 1 (electives)|
|1:30||Menucha (Rest Hour)|
|3:30||Chug 2 (electives)||Workshop|
|7:30||Evening Ritual & Bedtime Prep||Evening Program|