Fall Callback 2019

On Saturday, October 16th we had this semester’s rendition of the Summer Program Callback. We started the day with a team-building exercise (which I borrowed from a prior YSP Orientation activity): cutting an index card to form one continuous loop that you can fit around your waist. The actual solution (that I knew about) can be found here, but a couple groups actually came up with their own alternate, working solution. After completing a quick continued STEM involvement survey, the Northeastern graduate student group, NUCLEUS, a new student group focused on designing STEM activities for outreach, took over. The students learned all about color: learning about how humans see, and more particularly, how different humans see things differently. We looked at the following illusions: Monochrome-Color Castle (see .gif on left), the Green Dot Illusion, and the Dress Illusion.

The students then built their own Benham’s Disks – a phenomenon that’s still not entirely understood. Look at the spinning disk gif to the right – the disc is entirely black and white, but when spun creates an illusion of color.

This was followed up with a ink chromatography activity – in which students saw what colors various pens/markers are actually composed of. Also, we quickly discovered this activity doesn’t work with permanent markers or wet-erase markers.


The last activity done was a role-playing game, in which students learned about and then acted out the action potential of a neuron. Splitting into two teams, the students in each team, captained by an S-POWER NU volunteer (Madisyn or Tyree) raced to fire off their nerve impulse, the action potential being represented by beans being passed down the line.

For the final activity of the day, the students learned and practiced their programming skills by playing a video game, May’s Journey (free online: play here), built by Northeastern PhD student Chaima Jemmali [PhD Advisor: Magy Seif El-Nasr]. Originally built as part of her Master’s Thesis, this game is intended to teach middle and high school students about programming, as students are required to write their own code to progress through obstacles in the game. Jihwan, Neil, Jordan, and then Kyle were able to beat the game in the allotted time.

Thank you Northeastern Student Volunteers (below: Angerica, Lauryn, Tyree, Madisyn + NUCLEUS) for making this event possible!

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