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Bringing Ham Radio to school

Apr 4th 2019, 16:57

Joined: Sep 10th 2018, 18:33
Total Topics: 0
Total Posts: 0
Hello All,

This is Hisham, kb1jlw, from Worcester, MA.

My daughter is in the 1st grade, and I would like to introduce the school to HAM Radio with the goal to get licensed students out of it.

The school is a k-8, and after pitching the idea to the school principal he was very excited to make it happen.

Now the onus is on me to come up with a plan and to achieve the goal of licensing the students.

We agreed that for our first attempt we would focus on 7-8th graders and see where and how far we can get.

My goal is to get 10 students licensed by the end of the "course".

I have looked through the ETP, and Amateur Radio in the Classroom links in ARRL's site and found them to be geared towards teachers, and educators who plan on making this as part of class curriculum. I am neither a teacher there, nor have I taught amateur radio (except for a very long time ago, when our student organization held a technician license class, and I stood in for one session)

My aim is to make this as an after-school activity for those who are interested, and if we get traction, we can try and attempt to get a radio room in the school and try to tie in the school's curriculum with amateur radio, and of course getting some teachers licensed or I become the trustee for the school's radio station or something.

One of my long term goals is to get the school to put on a proposal for ARISS (hopefully for 2021, or 2022, as proposals for 2020 is due in May and a bit too soon). Another goal would be getting students involved in Cubes In Space, and hot air balloon experiments, maybe even drones.

I am a member of the local emergency communication team, and I probably can get help from a university's amateur radio club that I was involved with.

So I'm not worried about available resources for the students. i think we can manage a few HF/VHF demos, and fox-hunting demos as well.

I think the students would enjoy more of a hands-on approach. I'd like to have them each build their own crystal radio to begin with. Then from there, move on to the history of radios, the fundamentals, then how does the circuit work (technical details), then we can end it on propagation, and regulations.

I went back and looked through the chapters of the HAM Radio Manual from ARRL, and I saw that their chapters pretty much align with that concept and i'll probably just go through the book in the chapter order.

Since I'm not a teacher, I don't know what to expect and how to plan this. How many 1 or 2 hr sessions should I expect to spend on each chapter? Should I do it once a week, twice? I don't want them to lose interest by going too slow, or confuse them by going too fast. And I don't want to simply just have them memorize the answers without understanding.

I think I have it all in my head but it's chaos now, and I just can't seem to pin it down. Would appreciate some insights from anyone who has done something like this.

Thank you for reading my long post...

Apr 12th 2019, 15:01


Joined: Sep 2nd 2003, 12:14
Total Topics: 0
Total Posts: 0
Hi Hisham,

It's great that you're willing to volunteer to start a ham club at your daughter's school! I have to warn you though: Capturing and then retaining interest in amateur radio in today's youth is hard, hard, hard. I've been involved in youth outreach for many years, and in my experience it is best to focus on simply having fun and exposing them to the many sides of the hobby. If any of the students are interested in earning their own license (and very few will be), it is probably best to point them to available resources and let them study on their own.

I no longer measure my success by the number of youngsters I mentor who quickly become licensed hams. I now realize that most will not reach the necessary motivation level until they are much older and have spare time, disposable income and a better appreciation for amateur radio as a valuable form of backup communication. Now, I feel like I am being successful when I see a smile come over a child's face after they make their first QSO, or when they turn on the simple electronic kit they have just completed and watch it come to life. I've come to terms with the fact that I am a farmer planting seeds, who may not be around when the seeds finally germinate.

Mark AI4BJ

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