HARRISON, OH (FOX19) - It wasn't long ago that vocational education choices in middle schools were limited. However, these days Harrison Middle School is offering classes in engineering technology.
Robots the size of a shoe boxes are built by the students in Angela Elsasser's Gateway to Technology class.
"We're teaching them a robotics unit. They learn mechanical gears, ratios, the relationships between speed and torque and now they're learning to program their robots with Robot C, it's a version of C++," said Elsasser.
The class is designed for students of all skill levels.
"I'm learning how to program robots and build gears. It goes along with math real well," says Joey Lawhorn. "It's more of a hands-on class."
The goal is to introduce these kids to a field that may become a career.
"I'm kind of considering being a mechanical engineer now," says eighth grader Emily Hursh. "I don't like the stereotype of girls can't do anything so I really enjoy learning how to use the tools and learning how to build stuff."
Emily's enthusiasm is just what Christian Tracy, the Principal at Harrison Middle school wants to hear.
"We're not trying to make them grow up faster, but if we know that we want to be an engineer at the Jr. High level let's do everything we can to give them every preparation possible," says Tracy.
Eighth graders who decide they like this class can further their engineering studies at the high school level where they can earn college credit.
In partnership with school districts around the tri-state, Great Oaks institute of Technology also offers courses in bio-medical science, information technology and business.