Mike Huboda's mother used to yell at him when he took things apart as a kid.

Mike Huboda's mother used to yell at him when he took things apart as a kid.

Today, Huboda is a doctoral candidate in mechanical engineering at Ohio State University. He also puts together the curriculum for a special program inaugurated last year at Skate Zone 71 on Evanswood Drive in the Northland area.

"We have done educational field trips for a long time as a company," Jason Allen, manager of Skate Zone 71, said last week.

But these were "rudimentary," he said, compared with what the president of United Skates of America elected to embark upon several years ago after becoming concerned that other countries were surpassing the U.S. in providing science, technology, engineering and math education for young people.

"It was decided from the top down we should take the lead as a family entertainment company," Allen said.

Last year, between 12 and 15 STEM programs made field trips to Skate Zone 71, and Allen hopes for more this time around.

After all, he said, an hour of "very interactive, very high-energy" instruction about such subjects as reverse-engineering a pair of roller skates -- followed by two hours of free skating -- is hard to beat at $8 a student.

"The concept of reverse-engineering is a more scholastic version of taking things apart and figuring out how things work," Huboda said. "Hopefully, later down the line, these students take the lessons and think about how other things work ... really looking at it from a scientific perspective."

United Skates of America, which operates 20 rinks around the country, offers five different lessons for STEM programs, Allen said, beginning with the first lessons on the science of roller skating, looking at the components of a skate. The second lesson revolves around the "forces of nature and how to calculate velocity versus speed," he added. "Music, Math and Roller Skating" is the third lesson, followed by one that focuses on acoustics and concluding with "Engineering Magic and Lighting."

"I think the ultimate goal and the ultimate takeaway for any grade level of student is to realize that everything they do is involved in the science, engineering and technology field," said Huboda, the curriculum program manager.

"It's a hands-on experience," Allen said. "Basically, the whole rink is like a giant science laboratory."

The $8-a-student cost can be supplemented with pizza and other amenities offered at Skate Zone 71, he added.

For more information about the program or to book a field trip, call event coordinator Katy Wise-Rise at 614-846-5626, ext. 13, or visit skatezone71. com.