Science Horizons program participants put the finishing touches on a miniature catapult using LittleBits electronic circuit boards.

By: J.D. Ross
(315) 443-3094

Earlier this week, a group of middle school students from Syracuse-area schools spent a day exploring technology and information science at the School of Information Studies (iSchool).

The seventh and eighth graders were part of an effort between Syracuse University and Bristol-Myers Squibb called Science Horizons.  The program, which is fully funded by Bristol-Myers Squibb, is designed to encourage student interest in science and technology and to foster interest in science-related careers. Students are given the opportunity to explore fields such as technology, chemistry, geology, physics, anatomy, and ecology.

During the week-long program, they visit sites around the University and the community, including Bristol-Myers Squibb.

After an introduction to the iSchool and a tour by iSchool director of academic advising Julie Huynh, the students settled into a classroom for an afternoon program that included working with LittleBits circuit boards to create simple electronic machines, and exploring the LeapMotion 3D controller device.

“We were able to learn about how technology influences a lot of the stuff that we do,” explained Andrew Ottaviano, a student from Wellwood Middle School in Fayetteville.

Ottaviano particularly enjoyed making electronic creations during the LittleBits task.

“It was really easy to make stuff with LittleBits,” he noted. “Normally when people think about designing something, they think of complex programming. But with LittleBits, you can figure out how to create a sequence, figure out what triggers something, and how you can experiment with it to make a device.