Powered by the Wind, Miami Schoolkids Hit the Airwaves

Continuing to lay the foundation of math and science in the classroom.

By on June 18, 2012

Students at Miami’s David Lawrence Jr. K – 8 Center used their brains, expert help from teacher/parent volunteers and a grant from Verizon to create “Dolphin Radio,” an innovative wind-powered radio station to broadcast school news and information.

“Dolphin Radio” began broadcasting in the last few days of this school year as a test run for the start of the new school year in August 2012.

“The kids were so excited when we finished the buildout, that we just couldn’t wait all summer,” said Laurie Futterman, an award-winning science teacher who directed the project.

The radio transmitter is powered by a wind turbine and sends signals at 101.3 FM for students, staff and parents during the morning and afternoon pick-up/drop-off periods. The broadcast is limited to school grounds to keep it within FCC regulations.

The idea for the project was spawned when Futterman earned an $8,000 grant from the Verizon Foundation. It was part of a $48,000 S.T.E.M. (science, technology, engineering, math) grant from Verizon to numerous Miami-Dade schools.

“From painting the turbine blades, riveting them together, constructing the generator, installing the radio tower, building the antenna, wiring the radio transmitter and all the steps in between, it was the most innovative student-built project I have ever witnessed in a school setting, all made possible by Verizon,” Futterman said. She also thanked a dedicated parent volunteer, John Escobar, an electrical engineer who provided technical direction to the student scientists.

“We hope that this serves as a model for other grant recipients to show how sustainable and innovative projects can come to fruition,” said Futterman.