Classes and Programs

Girls Robotics Class - Learning the theory of Lego Building

Uplift's classes and programs are geared towards preK-12 students (ages 4-19) and adults. This spring our classes will focus on programming concepts, game design, artificial intelligence, computer graphics, web development, and physically building PCs.

No prior experience necessary. Our classes (below) are designed to introduce and guide your child(ren) in acquiring the basic skills needed to advance. Again, we encourage you to enroll in this pre-requisite series so you are prepared to enjoy additional classes designed to help you master skills in classes offered later in the year.

We can come to your location with equipment, depending on your needs.

Questions? Please contact us as soon as possible.

Please sign-up to receive more information now!

Class Roster

  1. Young Builders (STEM Exploration for 4-7 year olds)
  2. Scratch 2.0
  3. Intro to Computer Illustration and Animation
  4. Robotics (Lego WeDo & Lego MindStorm)
  5. Game Design with Flash
  6. Program a Baseball Simulator
  7. Artificial Intelligence for Two-Player Games
  8. Introduction to Web Development
  9. Introduction to Java ...and a Little Android App Development
  10. Computer Graphics
  11. Computer Building & Troubleshooting
  12. Adult Introduction to Android App Development Class
  13. HackerSpace

Young Builders

Young Builders is a Saturday course for children who are 4 (if parent stays for duration of class) 4 -7 years old. Parents enjoy the class so much that many elect to stay and build with them. Youngsters will explore age-appropriate concepts of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics).  These include robotics, programming, magnets, rocket launchers, water, building, origami, problem-solving, and more.  Classes occur twice a month on Saturday at 2pm for one hour.  Every class is unique, so feel free to sign-up for multiple classes.

Length: 1.5 hour classes

Instructor: Leshell Hatley

back to top (class list)

Introduction to Scratch 2.0

The Scratch Team at MIT has been working extremely hard on Scratch 2.0 for the past several years and just announced its release last week! Come get introduced to all the amazing elements of Scratch 2.0 and tell your story, create a game, or anything else that comes to mind in this 5-session classes. This class will conclude with an Advanced Concepts in Scratch 2.0 class in July. You don't want to miss this!

Instructor: Leshell Hatley

back to top (class list)


Intro to Computer Illustration & Animation

Learn how to express your creativity and drawing skills using the computer. In this 5-session class you will learn how to draw and animate your own creation. Digital storytelling is linked to gains in reading and an improved ability to communicate. This class will help create assets for our advanced game design classes this summer. A small screening of your animated-shorts will occur to show off your work! Are you ready?!? Enroll now.

All ages welcome!

Instructor: Leshell Hatley

back to top (class list)


Our robotics classes teach the basics of design, construction, and programming of Lego WeDo and Lego Mindstorms. Students learn about simple and complex machines and are guided through the construction and programming of robots. Shortly after, students can apply what they've learned to construct and program their own creations (e.g. the video above).

Instructor: Leshell Hatley

back to top (class list)



Game Design with Flash

Have you ever wanted to make a game such as the legendary Angry Birds? If so, then this is the class to be in!! This introductory Flash Game Design course is an introductory level course that teaches the fundamental concepts of game designing using an easy to learn game design platform called StencylWorks. StencylWorks is a free flash-based game design tool that allows users to create flash games for the web. Flash is a great tool for creating web-based games, and can also be sold to sponsors for a profit. If you want to learn more about how everything works, come join us.  We hope to see you!

Instructors: Muhammad Hawkins and Hamza Hawkins

back to top (class list)

Program a Baseball Simulator

Uplift, Inc. is seeking 4 dedicated high-school students to design, code, and test a baseball simulator.  The team would meet for 2 hours, twice a week, for each of the two, one month sessions. Upon completion of the first phase of the project, students will go to a baseball game and research further improvements for the simulator. The end result of the project is to design a program that can work with real team and player statistics to predict the outcome of a game between 2 real teams.

Instructors: Benjamin Russell and Marco Jacobs

back to top (class list)

Artificial Intelligence for Two-Player Games

Uplift is seeking 5 students for a course in Artificial Intelligence. Students will make an AI player for a simple game (tic-tac-toe, nim, dots & boxes) of the student’s choosing. This class is for students who have built at least one interactive game/app (i.e., that requires tracking state) before. Students will learn about two-player games and how to play (and win) as a human. Students will review game concepts such as representation, state, and winning conditions.

Instructor: Marianna Martindale

back to top (class list)

Introduction to Web Development

An introduction to web development is an entry level course covering the basics of developing for a web-based platform (website, mobile app, etc.).  This course will teach the broader fundamentals of the web and give students a foundation in web development skills platform. The skills learned in this class will prepare students for follow-up courses in developing apps for Windows Phone 8.

Instructor: Ebony Washington

back to top (class list)


Introduction to Java ...and a Little App Development

This course introduces students to the Java programming language.  It will focus on concepts, techniques, technologies and APIs for android application development  Concepts and techniques covered include client/server programming, database abstraction APIs and coding.  The course will focus on skills for developing algorithms, and for writing and debugging programs. Students will learn how to accomplish a specific task with code samples you can re-use in your project. Students will also begin to learn chinese.s

Instructor: Wei Zhang

back to top (class list)

Computer Graphics, Kinect (XBox)

Seeking students 14 and older who are interested in computer graphics.  Two classes show you a few topics including the kinect sensor (from the XBox) and the way it uses body tracking and object recognition. The first week will be about computer graphics using Processing, and writing a simple flight simulator (here's a very basic version: <>). The second week will be about computer vision using OpenCV and the Kinect sensor. 

Length: 2 class sessions

Instructor: Yi-Kai Liu

back top (class list)


Computer Wiz Kids PC Building and Troubleshooting

Up to 15 students will learn to build and take apart computers, troubleshooting techniques, how to back up data, how to upgrade and speed up computers. In addition, protecting and removing spyware, malware, and fatal viruses. Each student will be challenged at their appropriate level in a fun learning environment in four classes. 

For a more detailed description of the class, click on this link:

v Tune-up your laptop and desktop, configure and install Windows

v Set up and configure your home network, share printers and files

v What is the Cloud? Understand Cloud storage to backup PCs, tablets and cellphones.

v Upgrade from Windows XP to Windows 7 and 8 without losing your data.

v Transfer data from one computer to another. 

Instructor: Gerard Cooper


back to top (class list)

Introduction to Android App Development for Adults

June 2013 Class Testimonies:

"Leshell taught us some very important things to consider before even opening App Inventor, especially that one should create apps that increase productivity, improve quality of life, or serve some other helpful purpose, and not just to make a profit." CS

"I definitely enjoyed the class. This class informed me about how readily open sources are available for application development." PD

"I really appreciate Leshell's teaching style. She makes the whole process simple and not intimidating - you can really enter this class with no programming background at all." KB


This 2-day course in app development using MIT App Inventor occurs monthly, so if you miss one month, you can sign-up the next. The fee is $80.00 and will be used to offset fees for students in our programs for youth.  From the App Inventor  website:

“Creating an App Inventor App begins in your browser where you design how the app will look. Then, like fitting together puzzle pieces, you set your app’s behavior. All the while, through a live connection between your computer and your phone, your app appears on your phone. “

Prerequisite(s): None

Stay tuned for the next class!

Cost: $80.00

Instructor: Leshell Hatley


back to top (class list)

Monthly HackerSpace

This unstructured time is available for any students enrolled in other classes as well as experienced programmers (any age) who want to come share space, guidance and feedback, and programming abilities. Students and professional software developers will meet to work on their own projects and/or group projects, offer feedback, and simply stay connected and learn together. We can also connect via Google hangouts for those who are not in the immediate area.  These sessions  generally occur on Saturday evenings (3rd Saturday of the month).  

(For Students) Enrollment in 1 other class or have advanced programming knowledge and experience

Length: ~3 hours

Once a month, Saturdays, 5-8pm

July 20th, @ the Lab
June 29th, @ the Microsoft Store, Pentagon City
May 18th, Scratch Day DC 2013

Seats Available:  15

Cost:  Donation

Facilitator: Leshell Hatley


back to classes


  1. Myles & Ayesha® (Learning Technology)

  2. GirlCrew® (Website for Girls)

  3. The Black Scholars Index® (Website featuring Scholars from the Black Diaspora)

MYLES & AYESHA™ lead a research effort in culturally relevant learning technology. They are positioned as 'learning companions' and provide children, especially African-American children, with reflections of themselves and their ways/behaviors as they learn and grow. We believe placing them within the learning context gives children a sense of familiarity, encourages more interest and engagement, and provides them with a companion as they learn. This belief will be tested in various forms of learning technology - animation, mobile technology, interactive games and activities, as well as books and other forms of written material. Thus, making this a research and development effort. top

GirlCrew! is a web-based community designed to encourage girls to embrace their individual and collective power. This project launched in 2003 (formerly called 'Project Aiesha') and was reborn during the summer of 2011. The website is still in progress. A team of Youth APPLab girls have been working on an app and the webite, with the hope of officially launching both by Thanksgiving 2011. The site is viewable now, but please remember, construction is still in progress. top


Black Scholars Index (BSI) (Relaunching September 2012) A timeless online index of Black Scholars from across the world. Black scholars are featured daily along with information about their lives, education, and their areas of work and interests. The site has been in operation since the beginning of 2008 and has won an research award and has been featured in the 2009 Digital Humanitites Conference. top