- Amateur Radio Connects Dearborn Students to International Space Station

3…2…1 we have contact, actually on Tuesday, October 27, 2015 at noon, students will gather in the lecture hall at the Berry Career Center, 22586 Ann Arbor Trail, Dearborn Heights, 48127, to talk with a crew member aboard the International Space Station via Amateur Radio. This activity is part of the Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) Program, which promotes learning opportunities as part of the Science, Technology, Education and Math (STEM) initiative.

Mary Varady, STEM Coordinator for the District has been working with local Amateur Radio operators for almost a year to arrange the contact with the International Space Station. In the spring of 2015, Dearborn Public Schools Media Tech Specialist Gordon Scannell, an Amateur Radio operator, presented the details of the program to district teachers. Varady has been working with principals to provide lessons and other activities tied to the event. Scannell, along with other Amateur Radio volunteers have spent countless hours arranging the technical details for Tuesday’s event including such activities as installing a large temporary antenna on the roof of the Berry Center.

Dearborn was one of only 15 schools across the country to be selected. The ARISS contact is a once in a lifetime experience made possible in Dearborn by the many volunteer hours of two local Amateur Radio groups the “Tin Lizzys” from Ford Motor in Dearborn and a Hazel Park club.

“We are delighted to have been selected and to be able to offer our students this one of a kind learning opportunity,” Varady commented.

Students will be able to ask questions of the ISS crew during their scheduled time. Varady received more than 2,000 questions from students across the district and then had the daunting task of narrowing them down to only the best. In total, 18 students in grades first through eighth had their questions selected. In addition, students across the district will be able to tune in and watch as the students gathered in the lecture hall talk with the crew of the International Space Station.

However, an ARISS contact encompasses more than just students asking questions with the ISS crewmember. Additional components include student activities such as class lessons about space research, the International Space Station, and radio technology. The ARISS contact is a “hands on” real world application of the science, technology, engineering and math being taught in the classroom.

ARISS is a joint venture by NASA, the American Radio Relay League (ARRL), and the Radio Amateur Satellite Corporation (AMSAT) to facilitate communication via Amateur Radio between astronauts aboard the International Space Station and schools and communities around the world. ARISS programs excite and motivate students in a one-of-a-kind presentation and exchange. For more information on the ARISS program please visit www.arrl.org/ariss and for more on Amateur Radio visit www.arrl.org/what-is-ham-radio .

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