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Bringing LOFAR into the classroom

Submitter: Femke Boekhhorst
Description: What is a challenging and motivating form of education for high school students with an interest in beta and technology? A pretty important question from which in the past years the formula for the so-called Technasium was born. New with this formula is the introduction of "Research and Design": a course built from project assignments, based on the practice of beta and technical jobs that are a continuation of VWO (pre-university secondary education), Havo (higher general secondary education) and higher education. The course is an extra stimulus for students to make the choice to further their career in higher technological education and choose a job in technological sectors.

In the period of November 2012 to February 2013, the students from the Technasium class of the Roelof van Echtencollege in Hoogeveen participated in one of these Research and Design assignments, this time commissioned by ASTRON. For about two months, it was their job to find out how they could place LOFAR antennas on the surface of the moon. The students had to research a number of things, such as: what does the surface of the moon look like? What is the temperature there? How can you get antennas on the moon, and how can you make sure the signals they receive, are sent back to Earth?

The assignment was concluded with presentations from the students offering ASTRON solutions to these questions. It was clear the students had done their very best in the assignment and enjoyed working on it. They made very impressive models, ranging from rockets bringing the LOFAR antennas to the moon to robots that can place the antennas in the right position. The students showed remarkable eye to detail and did a good job at presenting themselves to the external 'client', something that will prove very valuable in their working life as well!
Copyright: ASTRON
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