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Volcano School Students Compete in County Science Fair

Volcano School students, Gabriella Tuson, Nate Jensen, Henry Shiro, Abby Jensen, and Molly Denny represented VSAS at the 2020 Hawaiʻi District Science and Engineering Fair in Hilo this weekend. Gabriella’s project investigated which type of sea wall would stop most tsunami over topping. Nate’s project hoped to identify the best natural solution for fire ant control. Molly studied effects of personality types on memory, and Abby researched density of microplastics at Punaluʻu.

We had an opportunity to interview Henry about his project, which was to determine the version of Raspberry Pi—a low cost computer—is best for running a satellite while orbiting the earth in space. Henry is on a student satellite team in coordination with Hawaiʻi Space Flight Laboratory formed by the Hawaiʻi Science and Technology Museum. Lava Tubes Rocketry, the name of the student team, will be launching their satellite later this year in low earth orbit primarily to measure magnetic pull of the earth and to collect other general sensor data. Henry said that this is the first satellite to be launched by students in Hawaiʻi and is aptly named Hiapo, which means first born brother.

Henry worked on developing his experience since August. There were a lot of tricky factors that had to be worked out ahead of time for the experiment and the program took several months to create. Henry is looking forward to competing in more science fairs in the future and would like to work in a science field when he is an adult. “I like programming and maybe programming a telescope or something like that,” Henry said.

Henry would like to thank Christian Wong, Director of Hawaii Science and Technology Museum who approved a proposal that Henry wrote and submitted for $300 in grant funding to purchase equipment. Henry would also like to thank Amber Imai-Hong of Hawaiʻi Space Flight Laboratory, UH Manoa; VSAS Science teacher, David Wells; Hawi Stecher; and his dad, Brian Shiro.

Also, Henry co-produced a video about this project and submitted it as the STEM Research Project for the island's VEX robotics final tournament winning best STEM Project Award.

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