K-5 > Physical Science
 Grade level: 4-6 Subject: Physical Science Duration: Two class periods
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The Phenomenon of Sound

Students will
 1 understand that sound is a form of energy that travels in waves referred to as compressional waves 2 understand that sound waves can travel through different mediums, including solids, liquids, and gases 3 understand and observe that sound waves travel in a given direction until an outside force or object gets in the way of its motion and reflects it 4 observe a variety of sound waves in lab stations and record their observations in a wave booklet

For this lesson, you will need:
 • Drum • A few paper clips • Tuning fork • Basin of water • Rubber band strung between two pegs or nails • Metal fork and spoon • Steel yardstick or ruler • Musical instruments or a musical tape, record, or CD • A slinky • A set of glasses and a spoon for each group of students • Six copies of theSound Waves Seen activity sheetfor each student.

 Students can still perform each of the lab activities, but have them compare what they learn about sound waves to what they have learned about light waves. Have students in groups create concept maps comparing the two types of waves. Groups can present diagrams to the class and demonstrate their understanding of the two types of waves by showing the class how to “read” their map. Maps should be colorful and creative and contain the following concepts and information about each type of wave in an organized format: Transverse wavescarry light energy,do not requirea medium through which to travel, and can travel through space or in a vacuum. Transverse waves on Earth can move through any medium. When transverse waves do travel through a medium, that medium will move at right angles to the direction the wave is traveling. Transverse waves carry different types of light energy, found in the electromagnetic spectrum, and they travel faster than the speed of sound. Students should also include a labeled diagram of a transverse wave showing a crest, a trough, amplitude, rest position, and wavelength. Compressional wavescarry sound energy andrequirea medium through which to travel. Matter vibrates in the same direction as the wave is traveling, and waves travel slower than light or transverse waves. Students should also include a labeled diagram of a compressional wave that shows compression, rarefraction, and wavelength.

 1 Hypothesize what happens to sound waves when they reach a wall or other solid, flat object. 2 If sound can’t travel in space, hypothesize what other modes of communication astronauts can use when they are outside the space shuttle? 3 Explain why, based on the behavior of sound waves, a classroom with a tile floor is louder than a library that is carpeted. 4 How does sound travel when you have a conversation with your friends? 5 Think about what it is like to hear things under water. Debate whether sound travels better in liquids (like water), gases (air), or solids (like putting your head down on a desk and having someone slam a book down on the surface)? 6 Discuss why you see lightning before you hear thunder during storms.

 Observe students’ booklets on sound waves and assess their work using this three-point rubric: For a score of 3:Students must answer all questions on their observation sheets accurately and thoroughly; diagrams must accurately demonstrate how sound traveled in each activity and be labeled according to directions. For a score of 2:Students must attempt to answer all questions with minor misunderstandings; diagrams are complete with minor errors. For a score of 1:Students did not attempt to answer all questions, and some answers show major misunderstandings or are not complete; students did not follow directions to label diagrams; and students have made no attempt to show how sound travels or one which demonstrates little understanding of how sound travels.

 Perfect Pitch Have students explore pitches by creating their own homemade instruments. Students can simply fill a set of glasses with different amounts of water. Eight glasses with different levels is sufficient for creating an octave of eight notes. After they have done this, strike each glass. Do they all make a note of the same pitch? If not, can they arrange the amount of water in the glasses in such a way as to play a simple tune? They should record the arrangement of the glasses and amounts of water in each glass on paper and add this to their sound notebook. Have students share their tunes and then discuss what they learned from this activity. Explain that the differences in pitch were a result of different heights of columns of air above the water.

 Sound: More Than What You Hear Christopher F. Lampton. Enslow, 1992.This book explores what sound is, how we perceive it, how it’s recorded, and how it’s used to transmit information. The natural sonar of bats and dolphins and the man-made sonar used underwater by the Navy are discussed in one section. How Bats "See" in the Dark Malcolm Penny. Benchmark Books, 1997.Here, readers will find a brief but thorough explanation of how bats use ultrasonic echolocation to fly safely and locate food in the dark. Many photographs and drawings illustrate the way that bats, as well as other animals and humans using technology, use sound to “see” their world. Lockheed SR-71: The Mach 3 Blackbird Paul F. Crickmore. Reed International Books, 1997.This photo-essay about the SR-71 Blackbird includes a pictographic tour of the plane to explain its capabilities, as well as a demonstration of the ground and air support it requires to fly its missions. The reader can also witness an entire training flight from the pilot’s suiting up, through the mission itself, to the plane’s return the earth.

 FamilyPlay Indoor Activities: Sound Machine This is a great site filled with learning activities for kids. This particular activity shows kids how different pitches can influence light patterns in a homemade experiment. Center for Sound Communication This is the Web site for CSC, an organization that specializes in sound communication and hearing in animals. Find out how your favorite animal communicates!

 Click on any of the vocabulary words below to hear them pronounced and used in a sentence. Definition:The total effect of sound, and the ability of an enclosed space, such as an auditorium, to reflect sound waves to produce distinct hearing. Context:The acoustics in the building were superb, making it an ideal place for a concert. Definition:A wave that carries sound energy. Context:Compressional waves need a medium to travel. Definition:The repeating of a sound caused by reflection of sound waves off a surface. Context:When they shouted into the canyon, their voices echoed back up to them from the rocks. Definition:The ability to perform work. Context:The sun can be a powerful source of energy. Definition:A material (solid, liquid, or gas) through which a wave travels. Context:Liquid mediums, like water, are good conductors of sound. Definition:Energy traveling away from a vibrating object. Context:He was aware of a low sound, a hum, coming from the electric generator. Definition:To move rapidly back and forth. Context:The string vibrated after being plucked. Definition:A transfer of energy as it travels away from the energy source. Context:She threw a rock into the water, causing a ripple of waves to spread outward in all directions.

 This lesson plan may be used to address the academic standards listed below. These standards are drawn from Content Knowledge: A Compendium of Standards and Benchmarks for K-12 Education: 2nd Edition and have been provided courtesy of theMid-continent Research for Education and Learningin Aurora, Colorado.  Grade level:6-8 Subject area:Science Standard: Understands motion and the principles that explain it. Benchmarks: Knows that vibrations (e.g., sounds, and earthquakes) move at different speeds in different materials, have different wavelengths, and set up wavelike disturbances that spread away from the source.  Benchmark:Knows that an object that is not being subjected to a force will continue to move at a constant speed and in a straight line. Grade level:9-12 Subject area:Science Standard: Understands motion and the principles that explain it. Benchmarks: Knows that waves (e.g., sound, seismic, water, light) have energy and can transfer energy when they interact with matter.

 Joyce Nelson Bailey, master science teacher, nature lover, and freelance science writer. Tracy Coulson, middle school special education teacher, Fairfax County Schools, Virginia.