Vertex Discovery Camp
For two weeks in August, Vertex Pharmaceuticals and i2 Learning teamed up with the Boston Public School Office of External Affairs to host Vertex Discovery Camp. This collaboration came about as a way to bring STEAM and coding to areas of the city that lack opportunities in those fields. Vertex also focused on engaging female students in order to encourage girls to explore STEAM careers. Ninety-four students, more than 50% female, from public, charter, and private schools came together to participate in a two-week science, technology, engineering, arts, and math (STEAM) camp.
Over the two weeks, students in grades four through eight participated in two different courses: Coding with Root and Crime Scene Investigation.
In the Coding with Root course, students used iPads to learn to code Root robots. While students started with basic commands such as go forward, turn right, or light up, they quickly moved on to programming the robots to play music or turn on command. Some students also learned to read sheet music in order to code the robots to play their favorite songs!
In the Crime Scene Investigation (CSI) course, students channeled their inner detective to study the various aspects of CSI. Our detectives spent the week learning about fingerprint patterns, searching for clues, and performing crime scene analysis. By the end of the course, students were solving mysteries set up by their teachers and created their own for peers to solve!
During the camp, students met six guests speakers from Vertex who discussed their STEAM career paths. Each camper also received a pen pal in the form of Vertex employees with whom they exchanged letters.
On Saturday, August 11, students and teachers took a field trip to Vertex Pharmaceuticals in the Seaport where they participated in multiple hands-on STEAM activities. Students engaged in experiments with mucus simulations and strawberry DNA extraction in the Vertex Learning Lab. Other activities included: building structures using 3D printing pens, a hands-on art activity, and a paper airplane contest with author of Charlie Numbers and the Man in the Moon, Tonya Mezrich.