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Ministry of Education.

Learning task 3

Language and literacy intention(s) We are learning how to define and explain the factors that affect pitch.
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 – When air vibrates, the loudness and pitch of the sound produced depend on the size and shape of air space.

To begin the session start with the You Tube link called Sound Frequency Pitch and Amplitude using Instruments. As the video clip plays students are introduced to each term and given an explanation as to what:

Pitch and
Amplitude mean

Students will work on their own or in pairs to clarify their understanding of these terms and form and record definitions that they can use in explaining their observations and discoveries in the three sound exploration activities.

Sound Exploration Activities

(1) Plucking cup

What You Need

  • Cardboard drinking cup
  • Piece of cotton string
  • A small piece of sponge

What You Do

Put a hole through the centre of the base of the cup.

Cut a piece of string about 50cm long.

Poke one end of the string through the hole from the bottom of the cup and tie several knots so that it will not go through the hole. The string should hang from the bottom of the cup.

Wet the piece of sponge and holding the cup by the base, place the wet sponge around the string and pull the sponge slowly and steadily down the string.

What To Look For

That the children understand that vibrating string is amplified by the cup which is acting like a speaker.

(2) Vibrating Ruler

What You Need

  • Flexible 30cm plastic ruler
  • Table

What You Do

Place the ruler on the table so that 25cm is over the edge of the table. Hold the ruler firmly on the table. Lightly flick the end and listen to the sound.

Repeat the activity but watch how fast the ruler vibrates.

If you flick the ruler harder, what happens to the sound and the vibrations?

Put less of the ruler over the edge of the table. Try it and see if the vibrations have changed.

What To Look For

That the children realise that the longer the ruler the slower the vibrations and the lower the pitch.

(3) Pitch

What You Need

  • A table
  • Length of string
  • A vivid marker pen
  • A weight or boulder

What You Do

Tie the string to the leg of the table.

Tie the other end to the weight and hang over the end of the table so that the string is taut across the table.

Put a vivid pen under the string so that the string is raised from the table top. Pluck the string and listen to the sound it makes.

Move the pen to various positions, plucking the string each time.

What To Look For

The students understand that the number of waves occurring determines the sound’s pitch.

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 are able to explain their understanding of sound, pitch, frequency and amplitude using the Predict and Check strategy:

Predict and Check Template (PDF 42KB)
Predict and Check Teacher Notes (PDF 84KB)

Published on: 21 Jan 2011