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Ministry of Education.

Learning task 2

Language and literacy intention(s) We are learning how to define and explain how sound travels.
Opportunities for key competencies development Thinking
Using Language Symbols & Texts
Relating to Others
Managing Self
Principles and values coherence High Expectations
Learning to Learn

Big Idea - Sound energy is transferred to the substance it travels through, producing vibration.

The students will explore through three different activities about the way sound travels and can be felt as vibrations.

Using the Sound word bank initiated previously and recording what they saw, felt, heard for each of the activities on a Y Chart (PDF 71KB) . They will look for similarities and differences for each of the activities and then write a statement defining sound (PDF 131KB) .

The students will then share with groups their findings and definition of sound.

Sound Exploration Activities

(1) Vibrating Balloon

What You Need

  • Balloons
  • Stereo with speakers

What You Do

Play some music on the stereo.
Inflate a balloon and sit near the speaker holding the inflated balloon in your hands near the speaker.

Get someone to turn the speakers up and hold the balloon near the speakers.

Opportunities to explore –

  • What do you notice as you hold the balloon?
  • How far from the speakers can you hold the balloon and still feel things?
  • Do you notice anything different based on the distance from the speaker?

What To Look For

That the children realise that the vibrations generated by the speaker diaphragm are causing the sound waves to travel from the speakers to the balloon in waves and therefore causing the balloon to vibrate.

(2) Musical Straws

What You Need

  • Straws
  • Scissors

What You Do

Flatten one end of a straw.

Cut the flattened end by making a cut on each side of the straw. You need to have two long pointed bits like a reed.

Put the pointed end into your mouth and blow. You need to blow hard to get the air in the straw to vibrate.

Once you are able to get a sound out of your straw try cutting a piece off the straw. What happens to the sound?

What To Look For

The children can discuss other musical instruments that use pipes and those that need a reed to make them work.

The children realise that it is the air vibrating in the straw that creates the sound and that shortening the straw makes a different sound (pitch).

Opportunities to explore –

  • What do you notice as you hold the straw tightly?
  • How could you alter the sound (pitch) level by using another?
  • How could you alter the sound (pitch) level by using a pair of scissors on a single straw? (cutting small lengths off the straw as it is blown)

(3) Speakers and Vibrations

What you need

  • A speaker with the speakers diaphragm exposed

What You Do

Play some music through the speaker to allow the children to see the diaphragm vibrating at different levels of loudness.

What To Look For

That the children realise that the sound is created by vibrations. The faster the vibrations, the louder the sound.

Want to know how a speaker works?
Playlist | Sound Waves Videos

Applications to the real world

The students think of examples of this in ‘the real world’ and justify their reasoning orally:

Where vibrations could be used for technological use.
Other uses for a diaphragm other than a speaker.
Identify examples of items around used that require fast diaphragm vibrations.
Objects around them that can vary their pitch and what is done for the pitch to change.

As a result of viewing the clips students are posed with the question: ‘Any more ideas or possibilities for using sound waves?’

Assessment opportunities by the teacher using the teaching as inquiry framework

Observation of students’ conversations and working in groups

  1. What information about the student’s learning and knowledge have I gained?
  2. What are the implications for my teaching
  3. What are the next learning steps - conceptual understanding, vocabulary, learner needs?

Students’ opportunity to assess their learning

Students can define how sound travels as a wave producing vibration and cite several examples of this in their everyday world.

Published on: 21 Jan 2011