Teaching tomorrow’s engineers

Published 9:33 pm Thursday, June 25, 2015

At Engineering For Kids at Chesapeake Square, instructor Malena Applewhite teaches a Lego robotics program to Savion Chapman, 8, and Braden Mack, 5.

At Engineering For Kids at Chesapeake Square, instructor Malena Applewhite teaches a Lego robotics program to Savion Chapman, 8, and Braden Mack, 5.

Two licensed engineers who happen to be husband and wife are the new owners of Engineering For Kids at Chesapeake Square, which teaches science, technology, engineering and math skills to children ages 4 to 14.

The business, located next to PetSmart, was operating for about a year before Cheryl and Mark Ellis bought it in February.

“I was making good money as a consultant engineer,” Cheryl Ellis said. “I just felt like I needed more — I needed a different drive.”

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The business teaches engineering skills through hand-on activities, she said, such as the Lego Mindstorms robots kids were busy programming earlier this week.

Each sitting at a computer, they attempted to set up their robots to circumnavigate a square marked out on the floor with masking tape.

The business offers after-school programs, summer camps, clubs and parties. Many children attend from Suffolk, Cheryl Ellis said.

Besides Lego robotics, other activities include creating video games and aerospace, marine, mechanical, civil and environmental engineering activities. Kids can even find themselves launching a rocket.

According to Cheryl Ellis, the business was languishing a little when she and her husband bought it. “My husband and I have really spent a lot of time to revamp it,” she said.

Some classes have been filling up really well, she said, while for some others it’s a little slower.

“I’m a hard worker, and I’m going to stay focused on this,” she said. “I’m going to make it happen.”

They have about 10 instructors, Cheryl Ellis said. Children work through projects and activities following a six-step process: ask, brainstorm, design, build, test and improve.

“We are teaching them engineering concepts and using vocabulary that engineers use,” Ellis said.

“It introduces concepts in a fun and challenging way, so they are learning but they don’t realize they are learning.”

For more information, visit www.engineeringforkids.com.