BSP together with the First Year Urban Neighborhood Campaign (FUNC) at Harvard Medical School and Harvard School of Dental Medicine has created Science Savvy, a week-long, summer science camp for elementary and middle school students. BSP provides funding and supplies for Science Savvy, and incoming Harvard students volunteer to participate as part of one of the orientation programs. BSP first partnered with the Prevention-NOW after-school program at the Hennigan School in Jamaica Plain to sponsor Science Savvy. In recent years, Science Savvy has partnered with the Boys and Girls Club of Boston located in Roxbury, MA. Every year, 30 or more elementary and middle school children attend Science Savvy.
The goal of the program is to increase engagement in science education and reinforce the principles of the scientific method that the students have learned in school. We partner with the Boys and Girls Club in their mission to combat summer learning loss. The Science Savvy Program pairs each HMS student with one camper, so that they can get to know each other during the week and campers can develop a one-on-one relationship with a mentor who is pursuing a career in medicine.
As they participate in Science Savvy, students engage in a variety of experiments. Specifically, they explore the natural flora on their hands and test how hand sanitizer affects growth. They test their hypotheses about whether or not yeast is alive, and they build models of cells. Students also explore the physical sciences during Science Savvy. Specifically, they investigate the difference between solids and gases by making “oobleck.” They also learn about surface tension by learning the “pepper trick” which they can easily show their friends and family at home. Finally, students learn to be critical of scientific claims as they investigate whether detoxifying food baths are based in science or pseudoscience.
Finally, Science Savvy includes an exciting field trip to Harvard Medical School, where students learn more about the medical field. Campers watch a video about different career opportunities in health care. They visit with a pathologist and participate in a simulation lab where they are able to experience what it is like to be a doctor to a robotic patient!
View the 2014 Science Savvy curriculum here.