REEDLEY, Calif. (KFSN) -- This wasn't Julian Lemas' first choice for an elective class.
But now, he's excited he was assigned to be here.
"It's fun, it's very enjoyable too. We get to build bots, have competitions and activities too," Lemas said.
This school year, Grant Middle School in Reedley launched its first robotics class thanks to a partnership with Valley ROP and Reedley College.
It's open to all 6th, 7th and 8th-grade students and challenges them.
"Especially the coding -- it's confusing because that's something I've never done before," Lemas said.
Ryan Alarcon, who teaches the class, says students start by building their own robots.
"A lot of our kids haven't touched a tool before, never used screws and screwdrivers and wrenches," Alarcon said.
Once built, they work on coding and then get into hands-on competition.
Students use math and English skills built in their other classes and apply them here.
But it's the skills that aren't always taught in a classroom that students have to work on - like problem-solving.
"When things don't work correctly, what do we do to make them work correctly? How do we fix them?" Alarcon said.
Principal Rodney Cisneros says he was happy to have robotics added as an option for students.
"For a lot of kids, it's not about the academics. It's about these kind of activities," he said.
And he says he can already see students working to persevere through their challenges.
"When you watch the kids, you see them taking the time to think, to reconsider, to try new things," Cisneros said.
Cisneros hopes students will take those skills into high school, college and their future careers.
And Alarcon hopes this class is something that will draw students in and motivate them.
"It gives them something to look forward to and when they have something to look forward to, it sparks their interest in those other -- in those other dimensions," Alarcon said.
The students are working toward their first competition in March.
If that goes well, they're hoping to go to a nationwide competition.