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Activities to keep kids active

Nov 1st 2012, 16:45


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Nigh Pugh, K5QXJ relayed this question from a local middle school teacher: What are some activities for licensed middle school students that will keep them involved with radio?
Nov 1st 2012, 16:47


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Here are suggestions offered in an email reply by Mark Spencer, WA8SME:

Keeping in mind that ham radio is a contact sport, it is really up to the interest and proclivity of the teacher who knows the interests of the students to choose from a range of activities that will be appropriate. Here are a few that come to mind:

1. Set up a fox hunt competition activity with prep instruction how fox hunting technology is used for search and rescue and research.
2. Participate in the School Club Roundup or any of the contest activities that happen almost any weekend. Students can be encouraged to listen and copy call signs if they are not licensed and log the number of states/countries or some other statistic.
3. Listen to the ISS as it passes (or the other cubesats in the area), if not in the voice mode, monitor the packet transmissions. [there recently has been a concept called MAREA that illustrates using commands relayed through the ISS via packet radio to control a robot in the classroom. Here is a short video on the concept:]
4. Build a kit, maybe a receiver and then use the receiver to do SWL and log SWL contacts. Ask for and collect QSL cards.
5. Practice communication procedures using FSRs or ham radios under the control operator.
6. Morse code is related to the math standards and also a fun activity for students. Build some CPOs and then use their CPOs to send messages.
7. Us a standard AM radio to study propagation. Log stations heard during the day and then at night and compare the quality of the signals and the distance to the transmitting station.
8. Build an antenna for the school station, then make contacts with the antenna.
9. Provide the students with some telemetry data received from a CubeSat, let them listen to a wave file of the pass. Have the students graph the data and interpret the results.
10. Have the students design a satellite and then build a model of their design.
11. Have the students listen to WWV and log the climate data (sun spot information), then plot the data, relate to what they observe during their SWL activity.
12. Go on a field trip to a local emergency service unit and see what radio technology they use, and how they use it. Then monitor the channels and log the transmissions, relate them back to what they were briefed.
13. Build a radio telescope as outlined in a previous article, then do some listening of the universe.

These are just a few ideas that might stimulate other ideas.
Nov 2nd 2012, 03:55


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A few more ideas.
Talk to the owners of any local repeaters to see if there would be objections to a student net one evening a week. If not start a student net.
Try o find ways for students to get an HT and/or HF radio. Local Amateur radio clubs, businesses, and individuals may be interested in helping, especially if you stress that Amateur Radio tends to interest students in science and technology.

Local Hams may have older equipment to donate. Some of this equipment may need new batteries or repairs. Involve students in such repairs.

Try to find elmers for the students.

Involve students in local EMS excercises.

Hopefully you will have a local club that is receptive to students becoming licensed, and that will be interested in helping. Not all clubs are receptive to such things.

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