Strand: Energy and Forces

Lesson: Sound


This is a series of lessons on 'Sound' taught over a period of time.

1. To afford the children an opportunity to work together, share ideas and communicate their feelings.
2. To allow the children the excitement of making scientific observations for themselves.
3. To enable the children to perform science experiments.
4. To enable the children to communicate ideas, present work and report findings using a variety of media.
5. To foster the child's natural curiosity, so encouraging independent enquiry and creative action.
6. To help the children appreciate the gift of sound.


1. To teach the children some interesting facts about the ear and the full anatomy of same, e.g. making them aware of the sense of balance our ears afford us.
2. To enable the child to learn that sound is a form of energy.
3. To learn to recognise and identify a variety of sounds in the environment, and appreciate the importance of noise.
4. To understand and explore how different sounds may be made by making a variety of materials vibrate - e.g. plastic ruler on table, string of instrument etc.
5. To explore the idea of how sound travels through materials.
6. To design and make a range of simple string instruments using an increasing variety of tools and materials - investigate how changes in length, tension, thickness and types of materials affect sound produced.

Materials Needed

Copies, pencils, rubbers,
Star Science Ginn & Co. 1997 - worksheets
rubber bands (all various thickness and length)
paper clips, string, clock, tissue boxes
2 kitchen paper rolls,
lap-top and projector,
Textbook: 'Look Around' Folens - 3rd and 4th classes
CD Rom: D.K. Multi-Media, Mad About Science, Disc 1 - Energy and Forces.



Our ears

(1)General discussion on all kinds of different sounds.
(1)Diagrams - understanding and drawing full anatomy of ear
(2) Functions of ear - how do we hear?

Children asked to listen - (Use textbook as prompt - pg. 12 'Look Around' 3rd class very good.) Words associated with sounds, use this vocabulary when working with software.


CD Rom: Section 29 - Making music: Making sound with lots of musical instruments

CD Rom: Section 30- Different sounds: High and low - loud and quiet (developing listening skills)

Exploring Sound Vibrations (pages 66 & 67 of 'Look Around' 4th class very good material).
The more times something vibrates each second, the higher the note, the fewer the times it vibrates each second the lower the note.

CD Rom: Section 33 - Perfect Pitch: How are musical notes higher or lower?

This is measure by how many vibrations there are in a second (vibrations per second). The disc showed us that by plucking a stringed instrument vibrations occurred, and what happens by blowing a wind instrument and by hitting a percussion instrument. Thus we are talking about the vibrations of sound and the pitch of sound.

CD Rom: Section 31- Muffled sounds: Sound travelling through things ( experiment in a fish tank)

Exploring the idea of muffled sound - sound moving, echoes etc. Discussion on real-life experiences of echoes (tunnels, caves, cliffs) all with hard surfaces.

Discussion on what happened when you curtain and carpet all empty rooms. The sound is absorbed by the soft materials - there are fewer hard surfaces to reflect the sound.

CD Rom: Section 32 - Sound moving and bouncing around: Find out what happens?

1. Experiments - Children make a range of simple string instruments using materials listed above - investigate how changes in length, tension, thickness and types of materials affect sound produced.
2. Games from laptop.
3. Children give both oral and written accounts of their findings. They note their observations in their copy books.

Conclusion/Follow Up Activities

1. For each type of sound you like or dislike, draw what sound waves look like.
2. English writing - (a) If I could not hear (b) My favourite sounds, because .. (could be printed on laptop)
3. Listen to relaxing sound tapes.
4. Game - Chinese Whispers.

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