SOUND ALL AROUND US
This lesson is a video-based investigation of sound and embraces
the premise that students understand basic properties of solids, liquids
and gases. Through instructional strategies utilizing video, hands-on activities
and interactive participation, students advance existing knowledge to include
understandings of how sound is created, how it travels in waves and under
what conditions it travels best. An important component of the plan explores
environments of the hearing impaired, allowing students to become sensitized
to their special needs as they discover ways of being supportive.
BILL NYE THE SCIENCE GUY
SCIENCE IS ELEMENTARY
Let's Explore Sound #105
Silent Lotus #910
Students will be able to:
- demonstrate how sound travels through air, solids and liquids;
- name parts of the ear;
- describe how sound travels to the brain;
- identify high and low frequency sounds;
- experiment with ways sound travels;
- discuss ways the hearing impaired cope with their disability;
- demonstrate ways to be sensitive and supportive to hearing impaired
- explain that the inability to speak or speak clearly does not represent
- 1 gong
- 1 chalkboard and chalk
- 1 large empty can
- 1 12" X 12" square plastic wrap
- 1 large rubber band
- 1 small mirror
- 1 bottle glue
- 1 flashlight
- 1 meter stick
- 1 roll masking tape
- 1 marking pen
- 1 pencil with eraser
- 1 watch that ticks
- 1 piece poster board
- 4 glass bottles with water
- 3 inflated balloons
- 1 book with four rubber bands
- 2 pencils
- 1 tape recorder
- 1 instrumental tape
- 1 student desk
- 1 round shaped balloon
- 1 Activity Sheet
- 1 pencil
Introduce the lesson by instructing students to close their
eyes. Say, "I'm going to use an object and create a sound. Listen carefully,
then be prepared to identify it." Strike the gong, then ask, "What
did you hear?" Elicit discussion leading to conclusion that sound was
created when the gong was struck.
Write the term, molecule on chalkboard. Say, "Air is made up of tiny
molecules. The molecules of air carried sound to your ears when I struck
the gong." Draw a circle on chalkboard; shade inside the circle. Say,
"This represents the gong." Draw rippling circles around the model
as you say, "Striking the gong caused it to vibrate. As it vibrated,
it struck the air molecules closest to it; they rippled out and away from
the gong, carrying the sound to your ears." Be careful to show ripples
that completely encircle the model, otherwise, some students may internalize
vibrations moving in a single direction. Encourage students to use their
own terminology as they tell how the sound was carried from the gong to
Ask students to describe what they observed at a time when they tossed a
pebble into a pond. Encourage class interaction as individuals compare the
movement of water molecules to the movement of air molecules.
Say, "You are going to watch a video where Bill Nye explains
what causes sound to be created. Can you predict what he will tell causes
the sound to be made?" Allow students to make predictions. To give
students a specific responsibility while viewing say, "Watch the video
and find out if your prediction is correct."
BILL NYE THE SCIENCE GUY
BEGIN tape with video of Bill being tapped on the shoulder. PAUSE
tape with audio of Bill saying, "...tiny vibrations in the air."
Allow time for students to discuss the accuracy of their predictions. Review
Bill's explanation of what causes sound; tiny vibrations in the air. Write
vacuum on chalkboard. Explain as an area where all air has been removed.
Ask, "If the gong were placed in a vacuum, then struck, what sound
would it make?" Engage students in discussion concluding no sound would
be made because there would be no air molecules for the gong's vibrations
to come in contact with.
Instruct students to strike their hands together. Encourage them to describe
the sound that was created. Ask, "Why did striking your hands together
create sound?" (Two objects came in contact with one another; this
time, hard and fast.) Ask, "How did bringing your hands together hard
and fast cause the molecules of air around them to react?" (caused
it to move or vibrate) Ask, "What did the vibrations cause?" (Vibrations
caused waves of sound to travel out in all directions.)
Ask but do not challenge incorrect responses, "Does sound travel through
metal and brick?" Record student responses on chalkboard. "Can
sound travel through the vacuum of outer space?" Record responses.
To give students a specific responsibility while viewing say, "Sound
can travel around corners. Watch the next video and be prepared to tell
why this is true." RESUME tape. PAUSE tape when the older
girl says, "Sound travels faster through brick, too." Allow students
to validate answers to the first two questions asked prior to viewing; next,
have volunteers explain why sound travels around corners. (Sound waves bend
around corners or objects when wavelengths are greater than dimensions of
objects they come in contact with.) Say, "Solid objects generally transmit
sound better than hollow or non-solid objects. What do you already know
about molecules that would help you to explain why this is true?" (Most
solids transmit sound faster because the molecules are closer together.
Thus, when a sound wave disturbs a molecule in a solid, the vibration has
less distance to travel before it reaches adjacent molecules.)
Speak in the lowest pitched voice you can generate as you explain low pitched
sounds are made when vibrations move slowly. Have students experiment by
speaking in their lowest possible pitched voices. Ask, "How would you
expect vibrations to act when your voice is pitched high?" Allow students
to deduct; confirm higher pitched sounds result from faster sound wave vibrations.
Hold the gong in clear view of students as they are instructed to carefully
observe the demonstration. Tap the gong gently as you create the softest
possible sound. Ask, "How would you describe the volume of sound made
with a gentle tap?" Confirm soft or a sound with very little volume.
Explain the soft or almost quiet sound was created because you tapped the
gong with very little force. Ask, "How did the gentle tap cause the
vibrations to act?" Confirm the tap was so gentle the vibrations didn't
move very far. This created a very quiet sound. Now, strike the gong with
a much greater force. Ask, "How would you compare this sound with the
previous sound?" Confirm it was much louder. Ask, "How did the
gong's vibrations act when greater force was applied?" Confirm vibrations
moved farther. Elicit interaction among students as they relate their vocal
cords barely vibrating to create a whisper, then vibrating farther out to
create louder sounds.
To give students a specific responsibility while viewing ask, "Do you
believe it's possible to see sound waves?" Allow students to share
their beliefs. Say, "Watch the next video to find out if your belief
is true." RESUME tape. PAUSE tape with audio of Bill
saying, "Cool!" Allow students to validate their beliefs. Ask,
"What instrument did Bill use to show a sound wave?" Confirm oscilloscope.
Write term on chalkboard, then have students practice correct pronunciation.
Pre-prepare the following and use to simulate sound vibrations. Cover the
open end of a large can with plastic wrap; secure using a rubber band. Center,
then glue a small mirror to the plastic wrap. Have a flashlight available.
Explain and allow students to examine the demon-stration tool. Say, "We
can use this to demonstrate how sound waves act. What you see will be rays
of light, however, they will act the same as sound waves." Direct the
flashlight's beam onto the mirror. Tap the plastic wrap gently as students
observe rays of light reflecting off the mirror. Allow time for obser-vation,
then have students describe what happens to the light as the mirror vibrates.
Next, tap the plastic wrap less gently; have students compare results with
the previous observation. Encourage students to consider and explain why
a light source was used to demonstrate sound vibration. (cannot see sound;
can see light rays)
Have students experience sound traveling through a solid. Say, "Position
your ear against the desk top, then tap the desk with your finger."
Allow time for accomplishment of the task, then ask, "What did this
prove about the way sound travels?" Allow discussion; confirm it as
an example or proof that sound travels through a solid.
Ask, "Will sound travel through a balloon filled with air?" Allow
students to predict. Distribute a round shape balloon to each student. Have
them inflate and tie-off the end; assist as needed. Say, "Hold the
balloon tightly against your ear and tap lightly on the side away from your
face." Allow time for implemen-tation, then instruct students to move
the balloon away from the ear and again tap it lightly. Have volunteers
describe, then compare the sounds made in both balloon positions. Ask, "Why
was the sound louder when you heard it traveling through the balloon?"
Allow students to share their opinions, then confirm the air molecules were
pressed closer together as the balloon was inflated. (Compressed molecules
of air are better conductors of sound waves than are uncompressed molecules
Say, "As sound waves pass from one molecule of air to the next, the
energy moving them is slightly reduced. This is why a sound is heard as
louder close to its source and is heard as weaker the greater distance you
move away from the source." Allow students to test this theory as they
conduct the following experiment. Use masking tape to identify a location
on the hallway floor where a sound will be created. Have a volunteer write
source of sound on the tape. Have other students use a meter stick to measure,
affix a strip of tape and mark distances one meter apart down the hallway.
(Measure to about twenty meters.) Position a student at each marked distance
facing away from source of the sound. Say, "Listen, then raise your
hand as you hear a sound created when an object is dropped to the floor."
Drop a pencil, then record the greatest distance from which the sound is
heard. Repeat, rotating student positions and utilizing various objects
such as a chalkboard eraser, a shoe, a book, etc. After all students have
had an experience, remove tape from hallway floor and return to classroom.
Write data on chalk-board for each object used in the experi-ment. Engage
students in discussion as they analyze and explain why sounds created by
dropping some of the objects could be heard at greater distances.
Say, "Sounds created by objects dropped to the floor in the hallway
were not affected by hitting solid objects before they reached your ears.
How do you think sound waves react when they hit an object?" Allow
responses. To give students a specific responsibility while viewing say,
"Watch the next video to find out if what you think is true."
RESUME tape. PAUSE tape when Bill says, "That's an echo."
Provide time for students to validate their previous thoughts about how
sound waves would act. Ask, "What did you discover about why an echo
is created?" Allow responses, then review waves spreading outward when
a stone is tossed into a pond; relate to sound waves traveling in a similar
manner. Say, "As sound waves hit a solid object they bounce off, sometimes
creating an echo." Ask students to share experiences related to what
happened when they stood in front of a tall building and shouted. (sometimes
hear an echo of your voice) Explain bats and dolphins use high pitched sounds
to create echoes which are bounced off objects in their environments. Ask,
"How does this ability help them?"
Demonstrate how sound waves sometimes bounce back. Have two volunteers hold
a slinky spread apart. Instruct one to jerk the slinky toward their partner.
Have other students describe their observations. (They will observe the
wave move forward, then backward.) Allow other students to experiment with
the slinky's motions as they describe their obser-vations. Reinforce: The
greater the distance a sound wave travels, the weaker it becomes. Elicit
discussion as students give examples of personal experiences that prove
the theory to be true. (e.g.) The siren on an approaching or departing fire
truck; someone calling out at a distance; a jet arriving/departing, etc.
Ask, "Where were you at a time when you were able to make your voice
echo?" Allow for students to share personal experiences. Ask, "Did
you understand what caused your voice to echo?" To give students a
specific responsibility while viewing say, "Watch the next video and
be prepared to explain what causes an echo." RESUME tape. PAUSE
tape when the girl says, "It happens in a hundredth of a second."
Provide time for students to describe what happens when an echo is created.
REWIND tape to position where animation of the ear begins; MUTE
audio. BEGIN tape and have individuals describe steps to the hearing
process as you pause tape after each step. PAUSE tape at end of animated
segment. Allow time for students to name steps in the hearing process as
shown on the video; write each step on chalkboard.
Distribute a copy of the Activity Sheet and a pencil to each student. Discuss
content and provide instructions for completing the activity. Allow time
for students to complete the task. Have volunteers provide answers for completion
of statements 1-4 at bottom of the sheet. Allow students to share their
beliefs for why you should never place anything smaller than your finger
inside your ear. NOTE: Use the following to elicit discussion explaining
the process of hearing or for reteaching individuals as needed: the outer
ear picks up sound waves; sound waves are then directed through the ear
canal; the ear drum is located at the end of the ear canal and is covered
by a very tight, thin layer of skin; when sound waves reach the eardrum,
they cause it to vibrate; vibrations are picked up by three tiny bones that
carry them to the tube that looks like a snail shell; and many small nerves
inside the tube carry sound messages to your brain. Discuss: Sound travels
well through air but it travels even better through many solids and liquids.
Long ago, Native Americans understood that sound travels better through
the ground than through air. This knowledge served them well. Scouts would
lie with an ear against the ground as they listened for approaching enemies.
In this position, they could hear hoofbeats of approaching horses before
they were heard as sound waves traveling through the air.
Demonstrate how sound travels through a solid as you tape a wrist watch
that ticks on the side of a door made of wood. Have students go to the opposite
side of the door, then position an ear against the wood. After all students
have had an opportunity to experience the demon-stration, elicit discussion
including ex-planations of their observations.
Encourage students to share opinions as you ask, "How does the ability
to use your voice affect the quality of your life?" To give students
a specific responsibility while viewing say, "Watch the next video
and be prepared to explain how your voice functions." RESUME
tape. STOP tape at end of program, immediately before closing credits.
Elicit discussion leading to conclusions that the voice comes from inside
the throat. Instruct students to place one hand gently on the front of their
throat, then hum. Ask, "What did you feel?" (vibrations) Say,
"The voice box is located inside the throat." Write vocal cords
on chalkboard, then ask "What do you already know about your vocal
cords?" Allow students to share their knowledge. Emphasize, vocal cords
are folds of muscle inside the voice box. Say, "We create speech or
other sounds when we force air from our lungs and across the vocal cords.
As air moves across vocal cords, they vibrate and create sound." Write
on chalkboard: It is not possible to breathe air in and speak at the same
time. Ask, "Is this statement true or false?" Require students
to qualify their answers. (The statement is true. It is not possible to
force air from your lungs to create speech and to simultaneously breathe
in air.) Write on chalkboard: It is not possible to breathe air out and
speak at the same time. Ask, "Is this statement true or false?"
Require quali-fication of answers. (The statement is false. Forcing air
from the lungs is both a part of the breathing process and a necessary function
for creating speech.)
SCIENCE IS ELEMENTARY
Let's Explore Sound #105
To give students a specific responsibility while listening say, "You
will hear only the audio on the next video. As you hear a different sound,
call out what you believe is creating the sound." Cover the television
screen with a piece of poster board and BEGIN tape with audio, "I
wonder where that sound is coming from." Sounds included are: musical
instrument, bird whistle, subway, mailbox, car horn, siren, trolley, horse
clopping, merry-go-round, roller coaster, playground noise, rooster, cricket,
lightning, grinding, clock striking, dog barking, jet, fireworks and a drum.
PAUSE tape immediately after sound of drum.
To give students a specific responsibility while viewing say, "Watch
the video this time with both picture and sound. Check to see how many sounds
you identified correctly." REWIND tape and begin with audio,
"I wonder where that sound is coming from." PAUSE tape
following audio and visual of the drum, then allow students to self-evaluate
their ability to recognize sounds without visual assistance.
Say, "When an object vibrates, it causes something to move. What is
actually moved by vibrations?" Allow students to respond. To give students
a specific responsibility while viewing say, "Watch the next video
to check your answer for accuracy." RESUME tape. PAUSE
tape after the video as classroom children say, "Yeah." Elicit
discussion leading to conclusion that a vibration causes air to move. Ask,
"What are examples of ways sound can be created?" List on chalkboard
as volunteers tell examples of sources. (e.g.) plucking, blowing, stroking,
hitting, striking, pushing, etc. Have students describe a sound made by
each source listed on the chalkboard.
Select volunteers to demonstrate experiments which follow. Place materials
in centers for providing all students an experience at a later time. Blowing:
Provide four identical glass bottles partially filled with different amounts
of water. Have volunteer blow into each bottle as the class discusses cause
and effect. (As each bottle has a different column of air, blowing into
each creates a different pitch.) Begin with bottle containing the least
amount of water and listen for the lowest pitch. Relate this demonstration
to musical instruments as: an oboe produces a lower sound than a flute which
has a shorter column of air.
Tapping/Striking: Provide several teacher selected objects. (e.g.) A ruler,
plastic cup, coat hanger, rubber mallet, etc. Select two volunteers. Have
one place an ear against a wooden desk as the second volunteer taps or strikes
one of the objects against the desktop. The first volunteer should describe
the pitch and sound created by the object.
Rubbing: The objects to be used for creating sound are three inflated balloons
with different shapes. Sounds are created by rubbing a variety of textures
across each balloon. Have students compare and contrast sounds that are
made. Plucking: Provide a book with four rubber bands stretched around it.
Have a volunteer experiment with various sounds and combinations of sound
created by plucking the rubber bands. Position a pencil under the rubber
bands at both ends to create guitar sounds.
FAST FORWARD tape to visual of four girls dressed in black. BEGIN
tape with audio, "...dance group has hearing problems." Say, "When
I signal, place your hands tightly over your ears; watch for a signal to
take your hands away." Allow a few minutes, then PAUSE tape
and signal for hands to be taken away. Have students describe how this affected
their ability to hear and understand the video.
A tape recorder and an instrumental tape is needed for this activity. Instruct
students to be prepared to describe any sensation they feel as they shut
their eyes and cover their ears for implementation of the demonstration.
Place volume control on the tape recorder at a high level and begin playing
the instrumental tape. Stop tape and have students describe what they heard
and felt. (Elicit vibrations were felt.) Have students describe how they
might feel and act if they were unable to hear sounds. Ask, "What experiences
have you had with people who are hearing impaired or deaf."
To give students a specific responsibility while viewing say, "The
next video shows a group of deaf girls who are members of a dance team.
As you watch, look for ways they are able to feel the music." RESUME
tape. STOP tape after students have had a reasonable opportunity
to observe how the music is felt. Allow students to tell the dancers felt
vibrations of the music through the air, through the floor and vibrations
coming in contact with their bodies.
Explain how some individuals have been deaf since birth, how some became
deaf following an illness and how others are deaf due to an accident. Emphasize
speech is learned by hearing and imitating sounds we have been exposed to
through our en-vironments. Encourage students to discuss the difficulty
of making speech sounds if an individual has never heard the sounds. Include
that a deaf person's inability to speak or speak clearly is not an indicator
of their intelligence level.
Say, "Much courage is necessary for a deaf person to function in society."
Ask, "What might we do that could help to make a deaf person's life
happier?" Allow students to express opinions. To give students a specific
responsibility while viewing say, "Watch the video to see if you named
a similar way to make a deaf person more comfortable."
Silent Lotus #910
BEGIN tape after opening credits. PAUSE tape with audio, "We
say plenty without making a sound." Allow time for students to compare
their suggestions with the example given on the video. Ask, "How can
you communicate without making a sound?" Record ideas on the chalkboard.
To give students a specific responsibility while viewing say, "As you
watch the next video, look for other ways to communicate." RESUME
tape; PAUSE tape with audio, "There are lots of ways to say
what's on your mind, you just have to find the one that is best for you."
Provide an opportunity for students to discuss other alternatives to speaking,
then, FAST FORWARD tape past the story of Silent Lotus. To
give students a specific re-sponsibility while viewing the next video say,
"As you watch this video, look for suggestions the young lady makes
for helping a hearing impaired person." RESUME tape with audio,
"We will all find our own best way to communicate." PAUSE
tape when he hugs her and allow students to discuss how they as individuals
would implement suggestions shown on the video.
Ask, "Who knows someone with a hearing loss?" Allow for responses.
"What have you learned that will help you communicate better with the
hearing im-paired people you know?" (speak clearly, speak softly, look
directly at the person so they can lip read, be patient and positive) To
give students a specific responsibility while viewing say, "Watch the
next video and be prepared to discuss how a deaf child's life is like or
unlike his hearing brother's life." RESUME tape; STOP
tape when the dance is over. Encourage students to compare the lives of
the two siblings shown on the video. Use the following questions as catalysts
to help individual students internalize the inability to hear sounds. What
are things the deaf boy enjoyed? (All things enjoyed by his hearing brother
were also enjoyed by the deaf sibling.) How did the brother and friends
communicate? (sign language) Why was the dance class a positive experience
for the deaf boy? (He was allowed to feel and be included as part of a group.)
What were the hearing children afraid of at first? (Afraid the deaf child
would laugh because he/she couldn't communicate.) How did the hearing impaired
children follow the music? (watched other children) Why do you suppose the
deaf boy spoke unclearly and different from you? (He was unable to hear
the sounds as you or I would hear them.)
Discuss as you encourage students to employ self-application to the class'
interaction. Say, "You can now under-stand that a hearing impaired
child is just like other children. They need to be accepted and treated
no differently from others. They have a great need for every-one to realize
they are not less intelligent just because they don't hear sounds."
As the lesson is brought to closure ask, "How will things you have
learned about sound and individuals who are unable to hear it, help you
to be more under-standing and supportive to persons who are hearing impaired?"
Elicit a response from each student.
Identify a school for the hearing impaired in your area. Communicate
with a willing primary teacher in the school to plan a field trip and party
for her/his students. Pair students from both classes so each hearing impaired
child will have a personal supportive peer to act as their host. Invite
the class to visit your school for the party. If it isn't practical for
the hearing impaired class to visit your school, solicit cooperation from
their teacher and "take the party to them."
Have students write a play based on the importance for protecting a person's
ability to hear. Plan a performance for other grade levels, other classes
On Line Communications:
Have students generate a list of questions they have about hearing impairment.
Go on line to receive responses.
Have students create musical instruments from household items. Use the instru-ments
to experiment with and demon-strate creating sound. Suggested in-struments
include drums, horns, stringed instruments, shakers, sand blocks, triangles,
Have students create a clay model of the ear.
Create an animation or hypercard showing how sound reaches the ear.
Figure the distance of an approaching thunderstorm. Use five seconds for
each mile after lightning is seen and/or thunder is heard.
Master Teachers: Connie Crowell and Susie Bateman
Lesson Plan Database
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