Making Waves ~ Women in Science Careers
Winifred Eke
teaches Biology at The English High School.

Students: Grade 10 Biology class
Northeastern University, Professor Purnima Ratilal, Computational Electromagnetics Laboratory
The English High, Science Teachers

Classroom Activities
Research & write individual reports on Women Scientists
Research university connections to Women Scientists
Contact Northeastern University Professor Ratilal, specialist in remote & wave-based sensing
Became familiar with this scientist’s research in acoustics
Understand implications of sound on medical technology & community health
Discuss noise levels of classrooms & corridors
Agree to a few minutes of silence during daily Biology class
Community Activities
Interview school Science Teachers on Women Scientists
Share research reports & interview results with class
Visit Computational Electromagnetics Laboratory at Northeastern University
Listen to Professor’s explanation of ultra-sound imaging & view her experiments using underwater sound waves
Manipulate equipment
Return to school by public transportation & observe noise pollution levels
Share reflections on reasons for & solutions to noise pollution with other classes
Teacher Reflections
After our visit to Professor Ratilal’s lab, we took the train back to school. We decided to listen to people in the train, and noticed that the noise level was similar to that of our school. That was when students came up with the idea to observe a few minutes of silence, sparingly, during each class period. Some students describe this silent time as scary because they are not used to it. Many students have stopped popping their chewing gum, some are not chewing it any longer, and we no longer have problems with cell phones. I have not heard a game boy played in class for a long time . . . . This project motivated students, especially the young women, who did not see connections between math and health science careers. It also opened eyes and ears to noise pollution.

Student Reflections
Women in Science Careers involved research, presentations, and a visit to Northeastern University. The Professor was a female and so were her assistants. The laboratory deals with acoustics technology related to medicine and warfare. Professor Ratilal discussed the importance of waves, and showed how to calculate them. She also showed how seals use sound waves to travel. She demonstrated that a wave records popping gum, clapping hands, etc. Through measurements done in the laboratory, we realized that noise pollution, like loud music, echoes and vibrates. Other individuals or organisms can pick them up. They also may disturb the ecosystem. . . . Since our visit, students have come to respect people’s space and to learn about other uses of sound waves.

TeachNet Service Learning is administered by Boston Public Schools Affiliate IMPACT II @ High School Renewal.
Supporting TeachNet are Special Assistant to the Superintendent for High School Renewal, Kathleen Mullin; IMPACT II Affiliate Director Barbara Locurto; WebMaster Andrew Binns; Web Advisor Linda Younis, High School Renewal; School to Career Program: Linda Younis; Project Assistant Jean Gibran. For more information, email

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