NVARC Members Participate in Bromfield Science Fair

NVARC display at Bromfield Science Fair
W1PJE photo

Bruce Blain, K1BG, writes in the March, 2019 issue of Signal:

As part of my continued effort to explore how to connect youth with Amateur Radio, I decided to learn more about an annual activity that I know takes place in my town—The Bromfield Science Fair. The Bromfield School is the public middle/high school in Harvard, MA. I’ve been aware of their science fair ever since my children attended school there. During the past year, I reached out to Deb Pierce, the teacher at Bromfield who coordinates the event, and found out how to participate.

I had two broad goals: to introduce young people to amateur radio, and to find a champion amongst the Bromfield faculty—someone who would incorporate amateur radio into the curriculum, or sponsor an after school activity like an amateur radio club. Four of us actively participated in judging the event on the afternoon of March 8th—me, Jim AB1WQ, Phil W1PJE, and Skip K1NKR. Community organizations like NVARC select projects that fit into their broad scopes of interest and judge those projects. Frankly, none of this year’s projects were specifically amateur radio related, but a number had some connection to the broad subject of “electromagnetics”. We split into two teams of judges – Jim and I and Phil and Skip. Of the seven projects we reviewed, three jumped out at all of us:. “Constructing a Polarimeter” by seniors Liam Makosky and Jacob Catalina, “Remote Sensing” by junior Lucy Bodtman, and “Harnessing Kinetic Energy from Footsteps for Electricity” by 8th grader Imogen Slavin. Awards were presented in the evening.

NVARC was also given the opportunity to have a table to display information regarding amateur radio. Stan KD1LE, Ralph KD1SM, and Phil W1PJE helped with the table and took some photographs. The science fair winners were given an introduction into amateur radio as well, and a number of teachers showed interest in what we are doing (no volunteer yet). We had two parents (of students) and two other students show great interest in our table. So the long term outcome of this effort is yet to be determined. The best part about an activity like this is that it can be duplicated at any science fair at any high school anywhere. I live in the town of Harvard, but NVARC members live in some 20 or so communities in the area. It all takes a few hours of time one day a year, and is an amazingly rewarding activity. I’m already planning on doing it again next year. If two kids per science fair per year across the country got interested in amateur radio, the number of kids getting into the hobby would explode overnight. Please let me know if you are interested in helping out in YOUR town. You can reach me at k1bg.bruce@gmail.com or at 508-341-5124. 

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