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Author Topic: Mentoring and 8 yr. old...  (Read 1003 times)
WD0ERU
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Posts: 33




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« on: July 30, 2008, 06:22:25 AM »

Thought I'd ask for some recommendations and/or some personal experieces that you may have had with mentoring an 8 yr. old in electronics and amateur radio. I have an exceptionally bright nephew who loves building mechanical and electrical projects, and I thought I'd look into helping him along the way and eventually introduce him to some aspects of radio...but, I've never done this before! Does anyone know of any "junior" electronic kits that are available and might appeal to an 8 year old boy? He's interested in computers as well (what kid isn't these days), so I thought maybe a PSK demo might be a good idea. I just want to give him enough information so he can eventually make his own decisions as to which direction he may want to go with this, however, I don't want to overload him with so much stuff that he turns away from it altogehter. I'm sure some of you have been there and done that, that's why I'm asking. Any other advice would be appreciated, thanks in advance.

73
David
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WB0M
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« Reply #1 on: July 30, 2008, 06:50:30 AM »

Hi David,
  If you "Google" (or whatever search engine you prefer) "kid radio kit" you'll get a bunch of hits. Here's some that I found:

http://www.midnightscience.com/kits.html
http://www.j-tron.com/product/Crystal_Radio_Kit.html
http://www.hometrainingtools.com/catalog/special-categories/science-kits/cat_electronics-technology-kits.html

I've got a two boys, 5 & 7, and hope to try one of the kits someday, too. GL & 73, Jeff/wb0m
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N6NKN
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« Reply #2 on: July 30, 2008, 06:55:16 AM »

When I was about that age, Dad and I built a crystal radio set. The rest, as they say, is history.

Rick N6NKN
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WD0ERU
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« Reply #3 on: July 30, 2008, 06:57:28 AM »

Yes, the crystal radio kit is at the top of my list! Thanks for the replies thus far.
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K8GU
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« Reply #4 on: July 30, 2008, 07:10:08 AM »

Dad and I did a lot of little projects when I was that age.  Not many of them were kits.  We built up some counters with 7-segment displays and played with logic gates, in addition to trying some radio circuits.  Radio Shack used to have one of those "Mini Notebooks" that suggested a nice sequence of radio circuits, most of which actually worked!  

The PSK demo would probably get his attention.  It might be counterintuitive, but Morse code really captures some kids' imaginations, especially if they are into "spies" and things like that.  I would provide minimal structure at first.  Find something to pique his interest and get him to ask some questions.  You should be able to tell from his questions what might interest him.
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K7KBN
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« Reply #5 on: July 30, 2008, 07:45:13 AM »

My two grandsons learned early on (4 and 5 years old) how to send their names in Morse code.  They were curious about the "beeps" coming out of my radio.

They got quite good at it, to the point where I was commenting on the air about them, and I'd send their names -- at 20-30 WPM, usually, and their heads would turn toward the radio instantly.  They wanted to learn more, so I introduced more letters each week.  In just a few months they were confidently sending and receiving 15 WPM!  They didn't have any desire to go further and get licensed, and now they're both in high school. But they're still very good at code
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73
Pat K7KBN
CWO4 USNR Ret.
W5FYI
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« Reply #6 on: July 30, 2008, 08:01:41 AM »

A crystal set is a good way to start, and to get that "I built it myself" pride. It would also be a good Science Fair project for an 8-year-old. The Xtal Set Society has parts and kits (www.midnightscience.com/kits.html).

Radio Shack sells snap-in electronics kits in the $40-$60 price range, and Edmund Scientifics has a good selection of kits, from AM-FM radio kits all the way up to a 500-in-1 electronics kit (www.scientificsonline.com).

I would recommend a good shortwave receiver for the kid, so he can brag to his friends, and get them interested too, to listening to foreign broadcasts and Morse code beeps.
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WA3SKN
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« Reply #7 on: July 30, 2008, 08:35:49 AM »

Number 1... KEEP IT FUN!
8 Years is a little young for the "Control Operator responsibility" story, but a shortwave receiver and listening in to the foreign broadcast stations during the evening hours can help a lot!
See how many can be identified and locate the various countries on a globe or map.  That should get him started.
73s.

-Mike.
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K5DVW
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« Reply #8 on: July 30, 2008, 10:15:57 AM »

If you can find one of those electronic project kits that snap together, those are always cool.

Something like this... go to Radio Shack home page and enter stock number 28-288

I plan to get my son one of them next birthday.
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TANAKASAN
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« Reply #9 on: July 30, 2008, 10:17:31 AM »

Happy memories, I got hooked about that age.

1) Take him to one or two electronics junk stores with a little pocket money.

2) Loan him some of the books in your library, don't be afraid to aim a little high because even if he doesn't understand it all he'll be fascinated.

3) Pulling stuff apart can be fun, putting it back together can be a useful exercise.

4) The electronics kits can be good, my first one was the 'Philips Radionics Kit' for my ninth birthday. My father had no idea of what to do but the ham round the corner welcomed me with open arms.

5) At the right time give him a gentle lesson in safety. Pulling apart a pocket radio is no problem but dismantling a TV set could be a whole world of trouble.

6) Wait until your radio club has something on that's not too fierce then bring him along.

Tanakasan
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WA4D
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« Reply #10 on: July 30, 2008, 11:29:04 AM »


This is the silliest post I've ever seen online. Anywhere.

David....you obviously know nothing of child development and learning. The absurdity of a PSK  demo for an 8 year old is pathetic.

Cognitive learning at age 8 is not ham radio. No matter what the geriatric crowd here says. Further if the kid's parents care about him, they'll offer him music, art or books as an alternative to an antiquated, irrelevant and dying hobby.

Study after study show that children from families that read go to college at much higher rates than those that do not. (Less than half of American adults READ books for pleasure). Develop a learning environment that is relevant and will encourage him to grow. The uneducated have no future in a globalized knowledge worker era. And that is as it should be.

The good news is the kid will indeed make his own decision. If this kid is intellectually curious and an achiever I predict he'll reject ham radio. To do otherwise will be a waste of time

mike/wa4d
 
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N1LO
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« Reply #11 on: July 30, 2008, 11:55:13 AM »

Gee Mike, what a wet blanket post!

When I was around 8 or so, my brother and I had a set of walkie-talkies that had morse code keys on them. We thought it was so cool that you could send coded messages, even though we didn't really learn morse code.

Mark
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K5END
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« Reply #12 on: July 30, 2008, 12:00:41 PM »

When I was around 7 or 8 my dad restored two old vacuum tube AM radio receivers (you know, wooden box, internal loop wax-potted antenna, sparkly gray-brown grille cloth) and gave one each to my sister and me.

The first thing I noticed  was that its angular dial had two indices, each sharing opposite sides of the dial. One was labeled "meters" and the other "kilocycles." There was one, solid needle for both, pointing (180 degrees outward from the center) to the two indices. So that meant the two numbers were linked directly somehow. One set of numbers went up as the other went down.

So, with my first grade of education behind me, I wondered "why" to the many questions this raised, and wondered how it all worked. And how in the world did those glowing glass tubes make it all work??? And why did it have so much noise when my mom used the vacuum cleaner? Why? Why? Why? and...How? I didn't know much, but I did know it was fascinating as heck.

You can figure out the rest.

And I still have that old radio.



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KB1GTX
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« Reply #13 on: July 30, 2008, 12:25:53 PM »

"The uneducated have no future in a globalized knowledge worker era. And that is as it should be."

Quite true, we have the Chinese children to the work for us. How else can we afford to pay
For the globalized worker to sit in an office and do nothing heaven forbid they have to “work“
For a living!.

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K5END
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Posts: 1309




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« Reply #14 on: July 30, 2008, 12:34:33 PM »

quote, "For the globalized worker to sit in an office and do nothing heaven forbid they have to “work“
For a living!. "

OK, OK, OK.

I'll get back to work.

I can take a hint. :-)
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