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BME (biomedical engineering) week: the main week that our lesson plans were showcased.

We have been developing BME lesson plans for Girls’ Inc and Eureka! since May. Two months ago, we sat in a conference room and proposed potential lesson plans for the organization. Weeks later, after rounds of feedback, supply shopping, and practice runs, we taught our lesson plans to our students. Most importantly, we considered and thought of ways to measure the impact our lessons would have on the ladies. What would they take away from our lessons? What would they learn about BME and health?

Theresa and I taught a lesson about the lungs called “Just Breathe.” Each day, we discussed the functions and parts of the respiratory system. We also included some exercise activities within the lesson to make it more interactive. For instance, we had them hold their breath and do jumping jacks for a certain amount of time. Then, we asked them how they felt and what was happening to their respiratory and circulatory systems. The girls were able to relate each parts of each system and how they felt to each other really well after we talked about it. Afterwards, we tasked them with building a model lung out of the household items we presented to them — soda bottles, straws, rubber bands, and balloons. Their model showcased different parts of the respiratory system, including the trachea, lungs, and diaphragm. Then, each group presented how their model operated to their peers and explained their designs.

Continuing with our BME and health lesson, we showed the ladies a clip from “Wall-E” and asked them about the polluted environment, ways it could affect their breathing, and ways they could protect their lungs. After a brief discussion with our class, we tasked each of our students with creating an air filter mask with other household supplies, such as fabrics, gauze, cups, string, cotton balls. They took into consideration that their mask had to allow them to breath air while preventing them from breathing dusts and dirt. The girls each successfully created functional air filter masks.

I think the girls were really interested in our discussion about smoking and lung diseases. We presented them with pictures of lungs that we took at the Bodies…The Exhibition in L.A. First, we showed them a pair of healthy lungs and asked them to describe them. Then, we showed them a pair of smokers lungs with emphysema and a pair with lung cancer. After discussing the physical appearance and comparing them to the healthy lungs, we read different statistics about smoking and secondhand smoke. They we surprised by the facts they heard and asked informative questions about what to do in situations involving smoking and secondhand smoke. We also talked about ways to protect the lungs and daily preventive measures they could take in their lives.

Overall, I believe our lesson plan and the other lesson plans presented this week were a big success with our students and Girls’ Inc. To measure impact, we gave the girls surveys at the end of each session and generally received positive remarks. They showed great enthusiasm and a sense of enjoyment from the lessons and activities engaged in throughout the week. Our time and investment in our lesson plans provided great learning and teaching moments for us and the girls.