Acoustical Society of America
Exploring Sound Physical Science Index
The following inquiry lessons have all been tested in the classroom with students and reviewed by experienced middle and high school teachers, middle and high school curriculum experts and physics education researchers.
Materials edited by Kelseigh Schneider
Students explore the physics of sound, how the ear hears and how musical instruments work through interactive demonstrations and student activities. Video clips are included for teachers to watch a section at a time if interested.
Multiple-choice test designed to measure learning from the Sound and Music lesson. This test has been reviewed by multiple experts and master teachers as well as used with several different populations of students.
The science of Music Unit This unit is designed to use all 3 lessons:
Students investigate how to make music by creating their own “straw instruments” and exploring water bottles.
Students investigate how stringed instruments make music including constructing and testing their own “cup instruments”.
Small group and whole class discussion lesson designed to guide students in creating a generalization about how instruments make music – source of vibration, way to change pitch, mechanism to amplify the music including resonance and sympathetic vibration.
Students explore the PhET Interactive Simulation “Wave on a String” focusing on amplitude and frequency as well as wave travel.
Students take on the roles of reporters and artists to draw and describe the nature of transverse waves. Activity is followed up with an interactive presentation of longitudinal and transverse wave characteristics including resonance.
Students study a brief history of sound, examine the role of tuning forks in this history and then conduct experiments with tuning forks.
Students explore the PhET Interactive simulation “Sound” and then experience the Doppler effect through watching videos and teacher demonstrations. Then students invent an explanation of why the Doppler effect happens.
Speed of Sound
Students explore the speed of sound by experiencing the delay for sound to reach them after they see it occur.
Identification from a distance
Students will try to identify objects from a variety of distances that dolphins and bats can successfully echolocate from.
Fish finding game
Students will explore what it feels like to find objects without sight by playing a game modeled after dolphin’s food-finding behavior.
Echolocation and SONAR Homework
Students examine what echolocation is and how it is used by humans and dolphins.
Sound rather than Sight
In this activity students explore the idea of how it feels to use sound only to locate objects.
Students experience having to search for objects above and below them, rather than only side-to-side, similar to how bats and dolphins find food.
This activity is a visual, class/group discussion version of the Echolocation and SONAR homework found in Echolocation Part II above. The reading from that activity has been put into a visual power point with student questions placed at key points.
In class discussion of how echolocation works. This activity brings together the hands-on activities done in Echolocation Part I and Part II and helps students understand why and how echolocation works.
This is a combination open-ended and likert-scale quiz covering many of the learning goals from the two echolocation activities. I used it with pre-service elementary teachers but it has not been reviewed by others.
Giant Acoustics Word Search stand alone activity .pdf
36 word word search uses acoustics terms found in the physical science lessons. Minimum of 2 hours to complete.
Sound Measures Stand alone lesson pdf
Students use a sound level meter to measure, compare and graph sound levels in different environments.
How Loud is Too Loud? Stand alone lesson .pdf
Students explore sound levels and exposure time for a variety of sources.
Two sided full color bookmarks show sound level for certain sound and safe exposure times for different levels.
Description of the physics of sound presented at a straight-forward conceptual level.
Dangerous Decibels Educator Resource Guide pdf
Complete set (105 pages) of Dangerous Decibels materials.
Note: The following activities are traditionally done in high school but are at an appropriate level for middle school students. We do not recommend using the same activities at both levels. An activity should only be used once with students, the next time they see the same activity/materials they disengage because they “already know this”. “We already did this in Mr. so and so’s class!”
Students use the Sound simulation from the PhET Interactive Simulations to understand how different sounds are modeled, described and produced. They also design ways to determine the speed, frequency, period and wavelength of a sound.
These two lessons each use a sound probe to investigate how wave patterns from different sounds look, including their voices and their straw instruments.
Peer-Instruction type questions for sound clicker questions related to the above activities ppt
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Acoustical Society of America
Visit our website at www.exploresound.org for other classroom resources such as career profiles of acousticians, fun educational videos (look for the YouTube icon) and new lesson plans as we get them developed!