Handbook of Engaged Learning Projects
Sight and Sound in
Ideas for Collaboration:
One of the objectives of the year-end project is to demonstrate
the ability to cooperate/collaborate with others in order to sustain
a challenging project which is sustained over a lengthy period of
time. There are a number of means by which you and your group can
demonstrate this ability to collaborate. The following are offered
- Each Physics 163 project group will be given an e-mail account
which will be active only for the duration of the project. This
e-mail account is to be used exclusively for use on the year-end
project. You and your group will be required to periodically send
e-mail messages to other project groups who are engaged in the
same study - the study of Sight and Sound in Nature. You will be
asked to e-mail the other Physics 163 project groups on at least
- After the first draft of the literature search.
This e-mail should briefly describe your research interests, a
brief citing of the sources which you have found most useful,
and a question which you hope another Physic 163 student can
- After the Technology Acquaintance Day. This e-mail should
describe the purpose of your experiment (including dependent
and independent variables) and list the equipment which you
will be using to accomplish this purpose.
- After the last day of experimentation. This e-mail should
describe the results of your experiment and describe your
tentative plans for the presentation (e.g., how you will be
organizing the presentation and what audio-visual or visual
tools you will use).
- Your e-mail account can be used to send and receive
communications from scientists whose addresses you locate on the
World Wide Web. Such correspondence should be intelligent,
cordial, and respectful. When asking a question of a scientist,
- be as specific as possible so that the scientist
is able to respond succinctly and still answer your question.
- be respectful of the scientist's time, allowing her/him an
opportunity to decline the return correspondence (e.g., "If
your time does not allow you to respond to my question, then I
would totally understand . . .").
- avoid asking questions which you could answer yourself by
doing simple literature research.
- Your e-mail account can be used to join the BIOACOUSTICS-L
listserv. By subscribing to this listserv, your group's e-mail
address will be added to a mailing list. You become a subscriber
(or member) of an extensive network of scientists (or students or
merely enthusiasts) who have an interest in bioacoustic topics.
The BIOACOUSTICS-L listserv is "for discussion of any subject
related to sound in the natural world, including animal
communication, sonar, acoustic behavior, signal processing for
bioacoustics, the impact of noise on animals, acoustic tracking,
and any other topics that may come up." Subscribers of the
listserv send e-mail to a central address and all members of the
mailing list receive that e-mail. Subscribers can read the
e-mail and subsequently respond. Typically, if a question is sent
to listserv subscribers by e-mail, as many as five or ten other
members might respond with an answer to the question. This is an
excellent opportunity to correspond with scientists and professors
whose expertise is in the field of bioacoustics. You may join the
BIOACOUSTICS-L listserve by filling out a short form at
- There are several pages on the World Wide Web that invite
students to ask a scientist. By e-mailing an intelligent
question, you are likely to receive an intelligent answer. A few
such addresses include:
- You may collaborate with a
cooperating scientist through the
Emissary Project at the University of Texas-Austin. With your
permission, your teacher will apply for the project and (if
available) you will be assigned a subject matter expert whose
focus of professional study corresponds to your area of interest.
You can subsequently ask questions and receive prompt answers.
The Emissary Project does require that you send and receive at
least three mail messages a week. This involves a strong
commitment! Yet once you identify an area of interest, you will
likely benefit greatly from such a commitment.
- Our school has already registered our project with the
Network's Internet Project Registry. By registering with GSN,
we have become listed as a school conducting research on the
physics of such topics as sight, sound, acoustics, bioacoustics,
animal vision, etc. Your group can search online to see if
there are any other high school students conducting similar
projects. If you are fortunate enough to find such a group of
students, you are welcome to collaborate with them on your
project. You may find that you can offer each other much
assistance in finding information, sharing experimental data, and
sharing successes and failures. It is definitely worth a try.
- One final source of information which your project group
should definitely not neglect are the local forest preserve
rangers, the Botanical Gardens, the Shedd Aquarium, the local
universities and colleges, and the local zoos. You may find that
there are scientists at these locations who are conducting (or
have conducted) professional research in the specific area of your
interest. A simple phone call and inquiry may lead to some
ongoing collaboration in your project. Who knows - perhaps you
might even find yourself at the Shedd Aquarium on a Saturday
afternoon, using available detectors to study the sounds of their
beluga whales? Don't forget - the sky is the limit!
Henderson's Home Page
South High School Physics Page
Henderson, Glenbrook South High School, Glenview, IL.
Handbook of Engaged Learning Projects sponsored by
Fermi National Accelerator
Laboratory Education Office
and Friends of
Fermilab. Funded by the North Central Regional Technology
in Education Consortium
based at the
Regional Educational Laboratory
Last Update: July 8, 1997