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Youth Center uses robots to encourage STEM interest

A robotics competitor prepares a robot for a demonstration at Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., Dec. 21, 2015. The competitor presented robotics and coding to Ellsworth youth as an introduction to the center’s upcoming Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Robotics Club, which will begin in January. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Donald C. Knechtel/Released)

A robotics competitor prepares a robot for a demonstration at Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., Dec. 21, 2015. The competitor presented robotics and coding to Ellsworth youth as an introduction to the center’s upcoming Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Robotics Club, which will begin in January. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Donald C. Knechtel/Released)

Ashton Lockhart, a robotics competitor, shows Youth Center children the tools they use for constructing toy robotics at Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., Dec. 21, 2015. The program used to make the robot move involves math, allowing children to learn while being entertained. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Donald C. Knechtel/Released)

Ashton Lockhart, a robotics competitor, shows Youth Center children the tools they use for constructing toy robotics at Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., Dec. 21, 2015. The program used to make the robot move involves math, allowing children to learn while being entertained. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Donald C. Knechtel/Released)

ELLSWORTH AIR FORCE BASE, S.D. -- The Youth Center introduced children enrolled in their programs to Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics with a robotics and coding demonstration Dec. 21, 2015.

The event gave Ellsworth youth a visual representation of what robotics is in hopes of furthering their interest in other STEM programs and activities.

"If we don't give children quality engaging activities to perform, they are going to find their own activities and I'd like to give them something productive to do to engage [their] minds in the afternoons," said Fran Apland, 28th Force Support Squadron Youth Center child and youth program director.

During the event, the center announced they will be starting a STEM Robotics Club in January. STEM is an education initiative, aimed at preparing students for future high-tech jobs. It teaches science, technology, engineering and mathematics as an integrated curriculum instead of separate subjects.

The center offers many other activities for children. Apland added they are also starting cooking, archery and sewing clubs.

"I would like to encourage people to check out [our] monthly calendar to know what events are happening in the upcoming year," Apland said.

For more information, call the Youth Center at (605) 385-2277 or visit http://www.ellsworthfss.com/family/youth-center.

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