At 6 Points Sci-Tech Academy West, our staff use professionally-developed curricula and lesson plans to guide campers in bringing to life the dreams that capture their imaginations. Using a hands-on, project-based approach, campers learn and create in a collaborative environment. Campers choose from one of four primary tracks, or “workshops,” where they spend 2½ hours each day working on projects they design:
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.
Campers with varying experiences can work with an array of tools. Tools and platforms used in past workshops include Scratch (perfect for beginners), Stencyl (great for 2D platformers and top-down games), Kodu (for campers interested in 3D game design), StarLogo (for campers who like 3D level and terrain design), as well as Unity with Playmaker, a more advanced 3D platform for experienced game designers, used in professional settings across the globe. More experienced campers and returning campers will delve deeper into these tools or experience new platforms for designing games. There is an endless amount to learn when designing games! Working together, all campers will develop the story, game mechanics, characters, backgrounds and other elements of their video games. All campers can take home their games and continue creating their games back home!
At Sci-Tech West, learning about stars and planets is out of this world! From the guiding North Star to the unseen Dark Matter in the universe, campers will explore some of the sky’s one hundred billion galaxies, planets, moons, as well as the stars we can see at camp using telescopes and spectroscopes. Campers will return home with an in-depth knowledge of Kepler’s Laws, with the skills to understand the motion of orbits in the solar system, using real data from real solar objects.
Our instructors will guide campers through topics like the life cycle of a star and gravitational waves and study craters using the same methods as today’s astronomers and astrophysicists.
Well, this dream laboratory does exist and is as close as Six Flags Great America! We will be using Six Flags guide to learning all about physics through their roller coasters. Campers will explore all of the physics that make roller coasters work, design their own and of course visit Six Flags Magic Mountain to test their designs by riding the rides!
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 the counselors and the lead instructors, who work with our directors to bring their passions to the campers. Examples of past chugim include:
- 3D Design & Printing
- Rubik’s Cube Solving
- Flight and RC Airplanes
- Java Programming
- Python Programming
- Medical Biology
- Food Science
- Virtual Worlds (using Minecraft)
- Arduino Programming
- Digital Music / Recording Studio
- Rube Goldberg Machines
Chugim are selected by our campers once they arrive at camp. Chugim change from summer to summer and even from week to week. 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.
During our sports and athletics period, campers exercise their bodies, something just as important as exercising their minds. Campers can play soccer, Frisbee, kickball, capture the flag, and Gaga. Other options include Quidditch, yoga, dance, and swimming.
Workshops are taught by our lead instructors, who are 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.