YARD introduces robotics classes to summer program

Courses offer hands-on learning


Youth Athletics Recreation Development (YARD) is introducing its first-ever introductory robotics class to its collection of courses at its Summer Spark Program.

The first session, taught by Michelle Stephan, was Monday, July 8, the first day of the program, and hosted nine students.

Students will explore the world of robotics and learn about its applications in daily life and the science behind the industry. They will learn about different energy choices and eventually assemble a solar robot.

Stephan, who also teaches a STEM class at Eagle View Christian School, noticed that robotics sparks students’ imaginations. After a year of considering the idea of bringing such a class to YARD, she decided the summer program would be a good venue to introduce it.

“They just love it. I love that they get to learn about the different energy sources and making technology work for us. Those are kind of the careers of the future,” she said.

Students will get to build several kits throughout the classes and test them using the scientific process. Stephan said children seem to respond better to learning when they’re engaged with it and they understand why things work.

“I am a big advocate that the world needs more kids who believe they can do whatever they want to do. STEM and robotics are such big factors in that,” she said. “It’s important to introduce them to technology. They’re already usually on tablets or games at a pretty young age, and it’s amazing to me how much kids incorporate technology, and they’re so smart with it. If we can help inspire them and really create a love of learning the science of sciences, that would be the goal.”

YARD will host five one-hour classes from noon to 1 p.m. every Monday for five weeks, excluding Monday, July 15, and from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays. The YARD Summer Spark Program also includes classes in STEM, physical education, reading and art. Students and their families can still register for individual classes, or they can register for a package.

To learn more about the Summer Spark Program, visit YARD’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/yelmyard.