CCA student uses Legos to teach basics of robotics
Ninth-grader Alisher Aminov of Lebanon offers classes through his Yellow Brick Robotics nonprofit.
The future of robotics is being built one Lego at a time. And CCA ninth-grader Alisher Aminov is teaching children how they can pave that road to tomorrow with colorful bricks.
Through his nonprofit, Yellow Brick Robotics, the 14-year-old Lebanon resident teaches robotics to elementary-age children. Alisher doesn’t want his students to learn just the basics of robotics; he wants them to realize that, through robotics, all possibilities and ideas seem endless.
Yellow Brick Robotics is a 501(c)3 educational nonprofit based in Lebanon. Yellow Brick Robotics provides extracurricular STEAM education for elementary and middle school students. Yellow Brick provides classes in creative science, elementary physics, robotics, coding and beginning game development.
This approach has been successful since Yellow Brick Robotics launched in summer 2017. Since that time, Alisher has taught approximately 50 kids what they can do with robotics through Yellow Brick and a partnership with the Lebanon campus of Harrisburg Area Community College.
Robotics learning and teaching with CCA flexibility
If not for CCA’s flexibility, Alisher doubts he would have been able to impart his knowledge to other students.
“Brick-and-mortar schools usually run from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.,” Alisher said. “If I was at a brick-and-mortar school, I wouldn’t be able to go to meetings and clubs. But I have the flexibility and, without that, I couldn’t teach Yellow Brick.”
CCA has provided Alisher with much more than the flexibility to teach robotics; it has furthered his understanding of the subject. He has taken advantage of many CCA extracurricular opportunities, such as the Real World Design Challenge team. The RWDC team from CCA has won the state championship eight times and recently represented Pennsylvania at the national competition in April.
“It’s pretty cool to go to nationals my first year [with the RWDC team],” Alisher said. “It’s been an interesting opportunity and a cool way to meet different people interested in the same thing.”
Robotics offers endless possibilities and ideas
Alisher’s interest in robotics dates back several years to when the Aminov family was living in Indonesia. Alisher was involved with extracurricular activities at his school, and a friend introduced him to the world of robotics.
When Alisher and his family returned to the U.S. a few years ago, he was surprised to find a lack of robotics educational opportunities in the Lebanon area. With his mother, Beth, Alisher started Yellow Brick Robotics.
Yellow Brick uses the Lego Education system, which is divided into four three-week units. The first two units are the principles of simple machines, mechanical devices that change a force’s direction or magnitude. They are followed by students building a small-scale, operable merry-go-round, and the course concludes with them building whatever they want with gears. Students work in groups of two throughout the course to foster teamwork.
“With robotics, you come to a point where the possibilities and ideas seem endless,” Alisher said. “It’s incredible.”
While the course itself is incredible, what Alisher has helped some students overcome is amazing. He related the story of one HACC program student with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder who struggled to read and write.
“His counseling service said they saw so much improvement from him [through the Yellow Brick course] that they wanted to pay for him to continue to do our courses,” Alisher said. “It’s been about six months, and now he’s at his grade level for reading and writing.”
Alisher finds this encouraging, and he is thankful that CCA has provided him the flexibility and opportunities to make his nonprofit possible. He also credited CCA teachers with inspiring him to start Yellow Brick.
“Even though it’s a cyber school, you feel like you’re a part of a community,” Alisher said. “It’s a good system.”
Yellow Brick Robotics summer camps
Yellow Brick Robotics will be holding five weeklong, day camps throughout the summer. Space is limited to 20 students per session. Registration ends June 22. The cost is $150 per student, per week for half-day sessions. Registration covers the cost of materials, supplies and snack. Scholarships and fundraisers are available. CCA students receive a discounted rate.
Here are a list of the dates, times, themes and locations of the summer camps:
June 18-22: Lebanon Salvation Army: 1031 Guilford St., Lebanon, PA
- 9 a.m.-noon: Simple Machines/Early Simple Machines (Grades: K-4)
- 1-4 p.m.: Simple and Powered Machines (Grades: 5-6 and past students)
June 25-29: Lebanon Salvation Army: 1031 Guilford St., Lebanon, PA
- 9 a.m.-noon: Simple and Powered Machines (Grades: 5-6 and past students)
- 1-4 p.m.: Intro to Robotics (Grades: 5-6 or Simple and Powered Machine prerequisite)
July 9-13: Lebanon Salvation Army: 1031 Guilford St., Lebanon, PA
- 9 a.m.-noon: Intro to Robotics (Grades: 5-6 or Simple and Powered Machine prerequisite)
- 1-4 p.m.: Simple Machines/Early Simple Machines (Grades: K-4)
July 23-27: CCA’s Capital Campus: One Innovation Way, Harrisburg, PA
- 9 a.m.-noon: Simple Machines (Grades: K-4)
- 1-4 p.m.: STEM for Girls (Grades K-6)
Note: This class camp session is only open for female students, grades K-6. The purpose of this camp session is to introduce more female students to STEM education.
July 30-Aug 3: CCA’s Capital Campus: One Innovation Way, Harrisburg, PA
- 9 a.m.-noon: Simple and Powered Machines (Grades 4-6 or Simple Machines/Early Simple Machines prerequisite)
- 1-4 p.m.: Intro to Robotics (Grades: 2-6)
For more information, contact Yellow Brick Robotics at [email protected] or call 717-507-2822. Register at: http://www.yellowbrickrobotics.com/summer-camps.html