Spring 2009 Issue

ATV

ATV, ARRL’s Teacher Institute, and Ham Radio in Public School Curriculum

By Miguel Enriquez, KD7RPP

Tiernan Walker, a fourth-grade student from Jefferson Park Elementary school, poses in front of a chromo green screen with satellite antenna and HT to demonstrate correct emergency communication procedures. Pictures are to be used for development of ATV video vignettes.

 

A philosopher once wrote, “Against our will comes wisdom.” At first glance one might ask what this statement might have to do with amateur radio and ATV. Well, recent circumstances and activities surrounding the Pueblo Amateur Radio Club have everything to do with the statement.

For the last two years, the Pueblo Amateur Radio Club has been busy exploring many different facets of radio. Some of our students are working on underwater robots controlled via RF. Others are busy building antennas and testing them. Still others have been working on basic electronics and math classes to be taught via ATV for the benefit of elementary school children in southern Arizona and in London, England. In addition, our radio club has now begun taking images of celestial bodies such as planets, nebulas, and galaxies through remote-imaging telescopes in New Mexico and Pengally, Western Australia. All of these activities are in pursuit of bettering knowledge, understanding, and test scores in mathematics and science.

It would be nice to be able to report that as the students demonstrate improved test scores and general enthusiasm for the projects in which they are involved, the resources necessary to accomplish the goals that will add to their education would become more available. However, because of the economic climate we all face, and especially in Arizona where state funding for education is now 50th in the nation, available resources are drying up quickly. It would be natural to expect the students to give up or slow down their enthusiasm for the projects they are working on. However, just the opposite is taking place.

Our radio club motto is “Touch the Sky.” Our students have concluded that touching the sky can happen as long as one absolute requirement is present—imagination. Therefore, instead of the students complaining about the radio club not having the $300 for the application fees to the underwater tournament this year, they will continue working on the robot and make it a better one for next year’s competition. Instead of griping that the radio license fees are not there for the students to take their Technician amateur radio test, they will just keep moving along and take the test when they finish studying for their General exam, hoping the fees will be available someday.

Something else very positive has come out of these trying times. Last year Pueblo Magnet High School was one of six sites that hosted an ARRL’s Teacher Institute. The ARRL Teacher Institute (TI) is a program presented by the ARRL for teachers with the objective of assisting, enhancing, and improving science and mathematics comprehension for American students. The program is run exclusively through philanthropic support, and thanks to the magnificent contributions of Mark Spencer, WA8SME, the program is an overwhelming success every time it is presented.

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