Radio STEM Course Making Waves
Our newest STEM class, Electronics & Communication, taught by Mr. Dave Newman, launched this semester with 24 students. The class of seniors and a few underclassmen was so popular, we had to cap the enrollment!
Students in electronics & communication are able to get a fourth science credit without taking an Advanced Placement course. Prior to this year, students who didn’t want to take AP science took only three years of high school science.
The goals of the class are multifaceted, says Mr. Newman. “Living in the technological age that we do, it is incumbent upon us to teach our students the basics of how certain technologies work.”
Through this course students will learn:
- A background in basic electronics, such as how certain electronic components work and how they interact within a circuit.
- Basic radio theory, such as how radios antennas, radio wave propagation and much more work. Students will gain enough knowledge to earn a technician class license.
- Oratory skills necessary to converse with others via the radio.
- U.S and world geography.
Additionally, students are learning Morse Code. Mr. Newman says, “In spite of the fact that no government requires the knowledge of Morse Code anymore, I believe that it is still an integral part of being a ham radio operator, and I stress this aspect of the hobby in my class.” The students practice code every day, and each student will be proficient in Morse Code by the end of the course, allowing them to have a conversation with others via the radio using code.
After only two weeks in the new class, student response has been very positive:
Junior Jake Birn: “Stem is a fascinating class. I enjoy learning Morse Code and how it was used for emergencies and just for talking to other people. I would recommend it to any student that could take the class.”
Junior Kiki Lerer: “I like the class because it gives students an opportunity to learn a subject that other schools do not offer. It’s been fun learning Morse code, and I can’t wait to see what the rest of the rest of the semester has to offer.”
Junior Spencer Wolmark: “The STEM class is going great! I think HAM radio is pretty cool because it gives you the freedom to connect with people from almost every country. Also in the process…we end up learning geography, unknown countries and history…STEM is above and beyond any class I’ve ever taken.”
Mr. Newman is using course material provided by the Amateur Radio Relay League (ARRL). As the major entity that supports the ham radio community and represents the needs and concerns with the FCC, they have a vested interest in providing the necessary educational materials to foster and maintain the ranks of amateur radio. They have a rather extensive education department, providing not only a complete course syllabus but also technical assistance and workshops free of charge for all radio operators, whether they are members or not.
Mr. Newman has heard directly from students and other administrators how much the students are enjoying the class. “They have taken to the code nicely and really seem to be enjoying it.”