#45 Science of Sound - Updated 8/30/15
- Ideas, Lessons, Activities
- Web Sites
- Videos (including worksheet for Magic School Bus
06/14 TUNING FORK - One of my favorite things is to walk around with my tuning fork letting the students suggest various things to touch it to to see what makes it loud enough for them to hear and what doesn't. The other really fun thing is to hold it on the bridge of the nose and watch the looks on their faces when they can hear it vibrating through their skull but no on else can hear it... Ann in NC
06/14 HUM WHAT YOU HEAR !! Try holding a frame drum up to your mouth and finding the pitch that resonates the drum. Creates an eerie effect.
You can also hold down the loud pedal of a piano and play a note on an instrument (preferably a loud one like a trumpet) and the octaves will ring in sympathy with the pitch played.
Also, get a tin cup and fill with water. Tap the cup with a stick and gradually pour the water out (from "Stomp Out Loud" video).
10/12 You make what I used to call "Gak," add food coloring and do different hZ waves for the kids to see sound waves actually moving through the stuff:
10/12 BLUEGRASS TIME!! Take a piece of twine and make a big loop on one end and a small loop on the other. (the twine should be about 3-4 feet long) Children hook the big loop around their foot, the small loop around their finger. Place finger on the ear (same spot you put a tuning fork) and "play" along with some music! Preferably some bluegrass or something with a strong bass line. They are the only ones who can hear the sound and they can change the pitch by stretching out our loosening the string! It is quite awesome, the kids love it and you have a quiet lesson! Robin in VA(From Susan Ramsey)
12/09 PING PONG BALL DEMO: Another cool trick is to tape a thread to a ping pong ball. You strike a tuning fork, point it at the ping pong ball and the ball shoots away from the sound waves! Simple and fun. --- Artie Almeida
01/04 ROPES: A couple of experiments I like to use are jump ropes for wave motion: have two students experiment with moving the handles of the ropes slower or faster than have them predict if the movement would cause a higher or lower sound. Second, I have kids make a "v" on the end of a straw to replicate woodwinds and then after they get a sound produced have them again predict what will happen with the pitch if we cut the straw., Finally, the ever-fascinating water in crystal, I use food coloring and a water measuring cup to be scientific with the water level and their predictions i.e. if this cup has 100 mL and produces this pitch what will happen to the pitch with 50 mL? - Contributed by Chris Columbaro
TUNING FORK: Students are fascinated with a tuning fork. They get especially excited when you touch the base of the tuning fork to their head and go nuts if you will have them put one finger in an ear and touch the tuning fork to an elbow bone. once you have their attention you can tell them how sound travels through air, solids and liquid. You can also get an 'ooh' reaction if you place the corner tip of one of the forks tines in water and watch the ripples.
SOUND EFFECTS GAME
Have them suggest sounds of their own following these guidelines: Raise your hand, and when I call on you, do a sound that is different from what I did. Everyone will listen carefully to your sound, then everyone will try it. Choose your best sound since you will get only one turn. When I do the cut sign, everyone will stop just like that (snap) so we can listen to the next person. If you are not listening to each other, then we will stop the game. Because of these simple rules, we could hear the sound effects of everyone who volunteered. (I had groups of 30-65 children each time.)
01/07 MOVIE (online) : http://www.rdimusic.com/movie.htm
04/03 Tuning forks: You can get them from science supply companies, such as
http://www.carolina.com/ Your science teacher will have other catalogs.
08/02 BOOMWHACKERS: Here's an experiment I do with my fourth graders when they do their sound and light unit in science.
They already know that vibration causes sound and it has been discovered by playing the classroom percussion and plucking strings on a dulcimer, etc. They also feel their throats when they talk and are silent to feel the vibration and lack of vibration. Okay, that's the background. Now to get them to discover the other characteristics of sound, each gets a boom whacker and they're told to hit the boom whacker on themselves and other non-breakable things around the room and see what they can find out about sound (without any other hints from me). After a little while, they exchange a long boomwhacker for a short one and continue making sounds.
After a couple of minutes, they sit and I ask them what they have found out about sound. They easily discover that sound has volume and pitch. There's always at least one who discovers timbre from striking different objects around the room.
Then, I give each child a 12" length of kite string, a toothpick, and a 4 oz. or 6 oz. bathroom paper cup. I have already punched a hole in the bottom of the cup with a pencil. I ask them to hold the string up with one hand and pull down the length of the string with two fingers of the other hand. I ask if they hear anything. (No, they haven't.) Then I ask them if they know what those big black boxes are on stage in rock bands. They know that they are amplifiers. So I tell them that we are going to make an amplifier. They tie one end of the string around the tooth pick and insert it into the hole in the bottom of the cup.
They have to break off some of the toothpick in order for it to lay flat inside the bottom of the cup with the rest of the string dangling from the hole below the cup. Then they pull on the string and you can hear the vibration! I draw a diagram of the sound waves bouncing around in the cup. Then, to demonstrate timbre, they dip the string into water and pull down the length of the string. I ask them what has changed about the sound (the timbre) and what caused the change (adding another element). By using different size cups, I demonstrate pitch. I ask what is the difference between the pitch of the different sizes and what causes the change. This experiment takes a 45 minute period but they love doing it. They always remember what timbre is from this experiment.
We like to lean in close to assorted instruments to see if we can make them produce a sound by speaking into them or breathing at them. We predict and then test.
06/07 http://www.philtulga.com Go to his free music activities. Great tie-ins to science and drumming cultures. We are lucky to have a mobile laptop lab at my school. My third graders loved Phil Tulga - especially "Counting Music" and "Music Pies". Check out the virtual instruments, info about drumming cultures and the counting games that use numbers, Kodaly and even Gordon. All that and much more - VERY engaging site! -- Jan from OH
PIANO STRINGS: You can show them the vibrations on the piano strings. Put a tuning fork in a large container of water. There's a neat thing I did a couple of years ago that involved using a balloon and showing the vibrations by reflecting the shadow on the wall, but I can't recall it! I'll e-mail the teacher who gave me the idea and post it later. There's the old-fashioned tin-can phone project. You can experiment with different types of materials to see which conducts the sound best: using wire, string, yarn, long elasticized string................stuff like that.
WATER GLASSES: Do the water in the glass project (different levels, different pitches), but possibly use soda bottles instead. You can do something as simple as showing them the effects of tuning a guitar, violin, or autoharp. Tighten the pegs WHILE producing a sound and ask them what changes were made. See if they can decipher what makes lower sounds: longer or shorter strings (or instruments): Thicker or thinner. And, have fun. This stuff is really neat, and kids love the hands-on.
PING PONG BALLS: As part of a science rotation last year I glue-gunned ping-pong balls to short pieces of string and let the kids use them as "vibration detectors" - using a suspended cymbal (which we also miked during its fade out so the kids could hear the overtones), a rotary saw blade (careful!), pitch fork, table top, recorder and tuba - it gave them something tactile to experience the sound with.
SOUND TRAVELS THROUGH....I remembered another cool activity that gets into the sound properties of acoustic resonating chambers. I just call it the box lesson. It really can get to the heart of "vibration". These little activities should use the musical vocabulary as much as possible. The concepts of timbre, volume and pitch are wonderfully enriched through these kinds of activities and tying them directly into music-producing instruments makes the concepts "make sense" and imprint on little brains a lot better. You need a tuning fork and a few cardboard boxes of varying sizes, a small wooden box, a 2x4" board with two nails at the ends with a metal string tautly attached, an instrument with a resonating box (guitar, violin, piano.....)
CONCEPTS: Sound travels (remember that sound is vibration and vibrations love to move through water, air and wood, but not a vacuum). Sound LOVES to travel through wood. And that makes the vibration get bigger which means it gets louder. And the bigger the box the louder the sound (until we max out somewhere down the road....) (If YOU wanna get into the specific physics of WHY, and wave forms and amplitude and etc., be my guest. Most third graders can live for several more years without needing that information.)
WATER BOTTLES: One possibility for sound/science connection is tuned bottles w/water. Did you know that if you "blow" over the tops of the bottles it works in reverse order than if you "tap" them on the sides with mallets. REASON: One vibrates the air. The other "sounds" the mass of the liquid. Cool, huh? You can explore pitch by filling glasses with water and hitting them. Differing amounts of water will make different pitches. Higher water will make a higher pitch, but not because of the water. Rather, it works because of a smaller air column. Air vibrates easier than water
GARDEN HOSE: Cut 3 lengths of garden hose - about 5 feet, 10 feet, and 20 feet. A trumpet mouthpiece will fit (loosely) into the end. You have just created 3 natural horns. Invite the kids to buzz their lips. (The tongue stays in the mouth, not sticking out. This is an important distinction for the younger kids.) As they tighten their lips, the pitch will go higher; loose lips will sound lower. Demonstrate using one of the hoses; a simple hose can play anything a bugle can play. This one activity can be used to teach how both length and tautness change pitch.
STRINGS: can also be used the same way, especially if you use piano/guitar/violin string instead of rubber bands. I keep a bari uke available to show how tightening and loosening the string will move the pitch up and down. It's a great sound; the kids love it. Walking your (or their) fingers up and down the frets lets them see the string as longer or shorter; or, by measuring the string and pressing it at half of its length, the kids get a math lesson, too.
Another way to experiment with air columns is with slide whistles or garden hoses. For garden hoses, you'll need a trumpet mouthpiece, too. (Remember, brass instruments are just pipes that have been curved.) I keep in my car three lengths of hoses, so I can play a low "bugle," or a medium or high one. Also, using rubber bands (or guitar strings) and a ruler, they can "cut" the string in half, producing an octave leap. Make sure to include different thicknesses of string, since that also has an effect on pitch. (In a kind of joking way, I have my kids imagine holding a piece of pine straw and blowing it. It waves easily. Then we imagine blowing on a pine tree (!); it simply won't move, because it's too thick.) Because tightness also changes pitch, rig up a tuning peg on a length of 2x4, so the kids can tighten and loosen the string and notice the difference. (I keep an old baritone uke which doesn't have all the strings.) An old snare drum or other kind of tunable drum would wrk, too. The above ideas relate to pitch. For rhythm, I would suggest, although I've never tried this one, that you rig up a blow dryer to blow across a bottle, flute, or even a whistle (maybe into a recorder). When the air is blocked by the hand, the sound stops
Have you ever noticed how children love to make sound effects with their mouths and bodies? I challenged myself to find as many different sound effects as I could using only my body. Then I demonstrated my discoveries to twenty different groups of children. I began by telling them that we can make our bodies sound like wonderful musical instruments. I demonstrated each one of the following sounds in order, then the group would follow. (I made sure to show them the "director's cut" sign by chopping my wrist before I began, so I could quickly get group silence, if needed, without yelling. I emphasized that there would be no voice sounds mixed in with the other body sounds unless I demonstrated it that way.)
With open hands:
Gently slap top of head , Gently slap cheeks, Gently slap chest between neck and breast
Gently slap hollow-sounding stomach, Gently slap thighs/hips , Gently slap just above each elbow, with crossed arms
clap flat hands, cupped hands touching like fingers, cupped hands crossing them
Rub hands together: up and down, sideways, and in a circle
With fingers: snap
Tap one finger on each hand together, two fingers, three fingers, four fingers, five fingers
With mouth: breathe out slowly , breathe out using voice sound , pant, sigh , slurp
make buzzing sound--wet lips, closing them in the position to say "m,", pulling the skin light by smiling, then blow
trill the tongue, let more air out as the lips vibrate like a horse sound, make "p" popping sounds
make letter sounds without the voice, such as "sh" or "qu", make tocking sound with tongue
whistle, quack, fill one cheek with air, blow out through teeth for Donald Duck sound
make frog sound--breathe in, low voice sound, snore, put open mouth on hand or arm and blow, burp
Hold out letter sounds: sh, ch, s
With fee: stomp, tap--keep heels on floor and tap toes , clap feet together in the air, slide
After I demonstrated these sounds, the children were bursting to demonstrate some of their own, so we played a sound effects game.
VIDEO: The magic school bus video tape on sound is "INSIDE THE HAUNTED HOUSE"
BRAIN: Chords strike a grammatical note: http://www.nature.com/nsu/010426/010426-4.html
The BOSE company has a terrific unit on the physics of music and math. They do have a web site but I can't remember the address. There was a link to it on the MENC web page... check it out www.menc.org
BACK to Science of Sound topics***********************************************************************
Some materials: big metal bowls, water, and a mallet. Watch the vibrations. Feel the difference in the vocal production between a whisper and a speaking voice. I got a model of the ear from the science teacher and a good graphic of the ear. We followed the sound from external source through the ear's parts to the brain.
I found the app Soundbeam for iPad/iPhone. You can actually see the shape of the vibrations/sound waves. You can see how they are amplified (get bigger and therefore louder) when the source tone is louder, how timbre changes change the shape of the sound wave. Etc.You can record a tone for play back later. LOADS of applications for learning with this app. ---- Martha Stanley
07/11 OUTDOORS K/1: In the classroom we begin as usual with some echo body rhythm patterns. Then I ask them to make up their own patterns while I keep a steady beat on the drum. I usually have to ask them NOT to play a steady beat because it sounds more interesting when there are long and short sounds mixed in. I have an ending pattern I play so they know when to stop, so we practice that, too. Then we go outside. Our playground has 5 different areas for us to make sounds. The first one has a wooden jungle gym so they can find things to help them make sound on the wooden parts. (They really get excited because they can pick up rocks!). Then we make music. I ask them a few questions about the sound quality, then we move on.
Area 2 is the slide and metal jungle gym. They still get to use "tools" to help make sound. After that section, we sit and talk about what was louder and why. We talk about vibration and how you can see the slide vibrate.
Area 3 is the basketball court. They are not allowed to use anything to help make sound here. Afterwards we talk about loud/soft and why concrete doesn't vibrate very well.
Area 4 is the swings (we have enough to fit a class!). They still can't use tools, and they aren't allowed to just swing. With the 1sts I associate swinging with rests because it's quiet. (unless they get a squeaky swing) We have the same discussion afterwards, but add in texture since some are swinging while others are making sound. This area is filled with a gravel/shredded tire mix so when they sit I have them make sound in the filler. We compare the sound of just tires to just rocks and talk about how they are scraping to make sound.
The last area has a metal-wrapped-in-plastic table and 2 huge plastic trash cans. They get to use tools again here. Afterwards we talk about high/low sounds because those trash cans make great low sounds! I used this last week - it's great for when it finally gets warm again and everyone is stir crazy. The actual lesson part lasts about 20 minutes, then they get to play for a bit before going in.----- Delynne in AR
12/09 2-3 30 MIN PERIODS: DAY ONE: I started the first lesson by holding up an empty quart size bleach bottle (label removed) and asking the kids what it was, then if it was a musical instrument, and after the resounding NO, I asked if it might make a sound anyway, to which they answered yes, if I blew on it. So I blew into it and of course, nothing. Then I blew across the opening, flute-style, and we discussed--the air inside, the vibrations. Here came RULE #1--ANYTHING that makes a sound has SOMETHING vibrating. This "bleach bottle-o-phone" (many giggles) has air inside and it's vibrating when I blow across it. Then I got out a half-gallon size empty bleach bottle and asked if it might have air--YES. Same amount? NO. Would it make a sound? YES Same sound? NO Then I asked how it would be different, and got varying answers--so it took a bit to discuss higher/lower and separate it from loud/soft. After I blew across, and they heard the very quiet lower-pitched tone, and oohed and ahed a bit, we discussed the size/pitch bit. Rule #2--bigger plays lower. BTW, this one was named the alto bleach bottle-o-phone and the first was a soprano...lol After that, I got out a soprano recorder and we transferred the principles just demonstrated to recorder, then I added alto, tenor, bass, and sopranino recorders to demonstrate the size/pitch thing further. Also did a rubber-band guitar demo to illustrate how strings vibrate, and added ULE #3--tight/loose for strings or drum heads affects high/low pitch. Transferred these principles to my baritone ukelele. These were all quick demo, very little hands-on at this time, and I kept it moving at a constant pace, got all the above into a 30 minute period, usually...They were Orff kids who had already had many many hands-on experiences with many different things, and this was just an intro to the science of sound.
DAY TWO we got into percussion--started with a medium pr. cymbals and asked what was vibrating when I hit them together? and helped them to see it was the metal itself, plus of course the air that carried the sound to their ears. Quick trip around the room, clapping the cymbals together and then stretching my 2 hands out so 3 or 4 kids on each side could lightly touch the rim of the metal to FEEL the vibrations. Then a quick demo using 4 different sizes of classroom cymbals (from finger cymbal size up through about a 12" pair, with a couple different sizes in between) to illustrate the size/pitch thing. Transferred all this to a couple pr. xylos for the size/pitch thing, also let them line up and quickly touch the edge of a metallophone bar after I played it, to feel the vibrations. Showed on my orff timpani about the size and also the tightness of the drumhead and the pitch changes. Again, this was done in one class period although it sometimes ran over... Just an intro but I felt that (1) the kids really were into it, and (2) they DID usually remember the 3 principles I wanted them to learn, and that was that SOMETHING had to vibrate to produce a sound, the size affected the pitch, and also the tightness (strings, percussion). The following year they were READY for the more orchestra-specific lessons. --- Louise Eddington, Muncie, Indiana E. Luane Campbell Elementary Music Instructor & Talented and Gifted intervention specialist Mt. Gilead Schools, Ohio
07/05 HANDMADE INSTR.: Kids handmade instruments.. Either String, tuned percussion, or wind. Parent help was optional... requirements:
1. design instrument [I provided loads of examples and instructions
2. name the instrument [ have had some funny ones.. "Can-jo".. Cow-Tar" "Smith-o-Phone"]
3. write a song for your instrument
4 do a short presentation for the class stating a) its name b) its family c)what vibrates d)how it resonates e) how it changes pitch d) play your song...
The class is responsible to listening intently and asking intelligent questions and making supportive comments. -- Anne Brazil
04/03 FOUR PITCH SONGS: (to use with sound experiments):
"Rise, Sally, Rise" l s m d
"Ding Dong Dell" l s m d
"Tidy-o" l s m d
"Sleep, Baby Sleep" s m r d
"Old Blue" s m r d
"Mary Had A Little Lamb" s m r d
"Jim-Along Josie" s m r d
"Hello, Girls, Listen To My Voice" s m r d
"Who's That Tapping At The Window" s m r d
"Hush Little Baby" m r d s
"Ring Around the Rosie" (d m s l)
from the kodaly method I , 3rd edition Lois Chosky a la claire fontaine mrd s page 223
bought me a cat s mrd page 157
bye, bye baby s mrd page 203
charlie over the ocean mrd l page 228
deedeedle dumpling s mrd page204
down came johnny s mrd page 201
Hush Little baby mrd s page 222
i got a letter mrd l page 230
miss marry mack dtls page118
ring around the rosie lamd page 197
sleep baby sleep s mrd page 202
teddy bear lsmd page 197
04/03 SCIENCE/MUSIC CENTERS NIGHT: I had chosen about 12 activities but I had to narrow it to three or four because of time concerns. I am saving your ideas for next year, too! Striking a tuning fork, I demonstrated the vibration by making ping-pong balls dance, and popcorn danced on a drum head. I touched the tuning fork to a snare drum which made a sound, and we also used an ocean wave drum, and made the shot dance inside. Another favorite was making the bowl of water ripple and splash. I had made some "walkie-talkie/telephones" using cups and string. One was short and the other was for "long distance" calls all the way across the room. They were amazed that these worked. The grownups had to make sure the string was pulled tightly between the cups. That's the trick to making it work. I also attached cups to my boombox speakers, which were connected by a string to a cup across the room. I had set the stereo on "repeat" so it was very quietly playing "Who Let the Dogs Out?" (to attract all grades) and they could listen to the cup, pulling the string tightly, and they had a primitive "headphone". For any overflow of people, we set up an area of keyboards as "Space Jam" and we attached chenille stem (pipe cleaners) to the headphones as "alien antennae" and the directions said to create their own space music, Martian Melodies, or soundtrack to a space movie. Parents and children alike seemed to enjoy it. The next day, the teacher who organized this event told me that a gifted student who is not easily impressed said to her, "You won't believe what we got to do in the music room!!" There were even middle school students who came through and tried out everything. :-) Best of all, if we do this next year.....I have suggested a music fair. -- Contributed by Evelyn Wright
SPOONS: one large spoon is the best (I prepare enough for each pair of partners to have a spoon. I tie the spoon in the center of a piece thin cotton rope, ask one partner to wrap the ends around the forefingers of both hands, put fingers in ears, then lean over to let the spoon hang freely; the partner then strikes the spoon with a pen or a nail, etc. You get the coolest kind of carillon sound. You can also just tie the spoon to the end of the rope and use one ear. It's fun to play around with different sized and different kinds of strikers. It's also fun to look for two spoon which sound nice together (one in each ear) and try to figure out the interval.
I've been gathering old spoons for some time because I like to do the Cat Paws song "I Got Spoons", for which each student needs two spoons to play. I have some of the "cheater" spoons that Gemini uses and Rhythm band sells, but they are not nearly as much fun as the real thing!By far, the most amazing vibration activity I've done is using "Sound Bites". I know, I know, they're electronic, but the message of the bones in the mouth conducting the sound is fascinating for the students (and for their teacher, too).
RUBBER BAND: Pluck a rubber band. Can you hear it? How close to your ear does it have to be before you can hear it? (Wanna get into a science lesson on the ear??? Here's a chance to explain how your external ear is a lot like a catcher's mitt.) Get two kids to hold tightly to a couple of feet of string. Pluck it. Same questions as above. Try a heavier string? Any changes? Whack a tuning fork carefully. Can you hear it? How 'bout up close? (oooooooo, they say!) Can you see the little forks vibrating? You may be able to see the blurry movement, maybe not. *Now, it's magic time.* Turn a cardboard box (empty) upside down onto the floor. One that holds the toilet paper the custodians have is a good size. Tap the fork and then place the bottom end onto the box. And listen!! It is so loud! Why did that happen?
Well, vibrations love to travel through wood. But this isn't a wooden box.....ahhh, but paper comes from wood....oooh, yeah.... Do your magic thing on everything in the room, books (not too effective...why??), pencils, a desktop. CAUTION -DO NOT PUT IT ON THE AQUARIUM. THE FISH CAN BE DAMAGED AND HIGHLY DISTURBED...AND THE GLASS MAY SHATTER. Just don't wanna get into that whole thing! Then put it on some little boxes, bigger and bigger ones. Notice what happens. I have some risers in my room that are basically wooden boxes about 8 feet long. I get the kids to put their ears on the box 'waaaay down on the other end and I lightly touch the tuning fork on the box on my side. It gets reallllly amplified. (Amplify means to make a sound wave larger which in turn sounds louder.)
Next logical step: (we're working our way up to the string family) Take the rubber band that you couldn't hear and stretch it over a box with one of its sides open (like a shoe box without the top). Pluck it. Is it louder? Why? How did the vibrations get into the box? Try it with the string being stretched tightly between the box edges. Rub it with a violin bow, if you feel like it. See what happens. Do that with the string strung on the two by four. Well??
Try the tuning fork on the piano "box." What happened? Why? Can they think of any other instruments that have a box on them. The shape is pretty irrelevant....violins are a very weird box shape. Just why DO they have those little dips in the "waistline" anyway?? Let them figure it out!
And expect the conversation about all the guitars that don't have boxes!!! Now you can plan your next lesson....the use of electronic signals to produce vibrations that require electronic amplification and a speaker and ....... if anybody thinks these tidbits have been useful, I'll give you my quick and dirty "electronic sounds" lesson sometime. And do put the tuning fork on the metal bowls with water on them. That's fun, too.
LESSON 1 - WHAT CAN YOU HEAR? Lesson: Sight is the most dominant sense in most humans. When our vision is limited, our other senses can gain dominance and become stronger. Directions: Have students sit quietly in the room with their eyes closed. Have them listen for subtle sounds in the classroom and the surrounding area. What can they hear? Discuss why closing your eyes helps you to hear better.
LESSON 2 - AMPLIFYING SOUNDS: 7Soft sounds can be made louder by bouncing them off of different items. Placing a music box on hard surfaces, such as walls, tables, floors, etc., will make the sound louder. Soft surfaces, such as carpet, absorb sound making it softer. Materials: wind up music box hard and soft surfaces cardboard box with hole Directions: Place music box on outside of a cardboard box with a hole cut in it, and the sound is amplified (sounds bounce around inside the box and come out focused through the hole). Ask kids to think of musical instruments that are basically big boxes with holes (Violin, guitar, piano, etc.)
LESSON 3 - HOW SOUNDS GET WHERE THEY ARE GOING -Materials: tuning forks ping pong balls glued to pieces of string. Directions: Have kids play with tuning forks. They should hold the fork by the "stem" and tap sharply on their shoe. By placing the fork stem on various surfaces in the room, sounds can be amplified or muffled. If the stem of the vibrating fork is placed on elbow and index finger of hand is inserted in ear, the sound can be heard through the BONES! (This explains why our voice on a tape recorder doesn't sound right to us. We can hear our own voices through our bones and ears.) After a few minutes of playing, hand out ping pong balls on string. By dangling the ball next to the vibrating fork so that it is gently tapped, one can see the "wiggle" of the vibrating fork transmitted to the ping pong ball. The final activity after class is to take the children out into the hall and have them lean one ear against a long metal hand railing. Place the music box at one end of the rail and have the children listen. Even the last child at the end of the hall will hear music through the metal rail!
LESSON 4 - SALT VOICEPRINTS Lesson: When you sing a note, the vibrations of your vocal cords cause the surrounding air to vibrate. This exercise is very effective in showing this principle. Materials: empty coffee can elastic band salt large balloon. Directions: Cut off the end of the balloon about 2 inches down from the nozzle. Stretch the balloon over the open end of the coffee can and fasten it with an elastic band. Don't be frustrated if it takes a couple of tries. Sprinkle some salt on top of the balloon covered can. Without actually blowing on the salt, have the students "sing" at the can. Start with low notes and slowly raise the pitch of the sound until the salt starts to bounce around on the balloon. Observe the pattern of the moving salt. You can also have the whole class sing the same song together, while keeping their mouths close to the can.
What happens if they change the pitch? What happens if they change the volume of the sound?
When you sing, the vibrations of your vocal cords cause the surrounding air to vibrate, which, in turn, causes the stretched balloon to vibrate. There are certain notes that will cause the balloon to vibrate more than others. These notes are called the resonant frequencies of the balloon.
When the balloon is vibrating, there will be parts of the balloon that vibrate quite strongly and some that will not vibrate at all. These areas are called nodes. The salt will tend to collect on the nodes. Note: Please be aware that this activity can get fairly noisy and slightly messy.
EXPLORATION LESSONS - Check some of the facts about vibrating strings by making a simple one stringed guitar. Stretch a rubber band around a long pan, such as a baking tin. Use a stick or a pencil as a "bridge." With the bridge absent, pluck the string and note the pitch of its tone. Then insert the bridge under the center of the string, pluck either half, and notice that the tone produced is the octave of the first one.
Placing the bridge at the quarter point will give the next octave. Also try to produce the familiar do-mi-sol-do of the major chord by using the "open" string then placing the bridge at distances 1/5, 1/3 and 1/2 from the left end, each time plucking the right hand portion of the string. Another fact you can check is that tightening a string raises its pitch.
Percussion instruments such as drums and bells create tones by the striking of bars, plates, stretched skins, or some other material that give their motion to the surrounding air. The thickness of the material, its density, and so on determine its rate of vibration and therefore the pitch of the sound.
Different types of instruments also produce different qualities of sound. These have to do with harmonics, also called overtones, which are vibrations at different strengths within the same tone. Electrical devices called harmonic analyzers can analyze the complex waveforms produced by different sources (Figure 2) and modern electronics can be made to reproduce (synthesize) these natural waveforms.
1. Get a few empty 35mm film canisters. Fill them with different ingredients...sand, rice, tiny pebbles, big pebbles. Have the kids shake them and then determine where they would go in order.....example....from loud to soft.....from shhhhy sounds (like sand grains) to harsh sounds like dried corn.......from small sized to large size ingredients (judging only by sound)..... alphabetical....whatever. Don't forget high to low.
2A-Have the kids guess what may be in the containers and have them create word, phrases that describe the sounds....crackly, swishy, etc. Diamante poems can be wonderfully expressive for this activity.
2B-Have the kids create an ABA piece with some containers and be sure to have them do movement with it. It's so cool to watch their physical interpretations of the sounds created by the whacking of the innerds.
2C-Present a bunch of instruments that make music by having small objects hitting the larger container....maracas, jingle bells, bells with clappers, shekeres, etc.
2D-Get a bunch of small cardboard boxes (small like a little necklace box) and do the same things. Describe any timbral, pitch, volume changes.
3. Get a set of nested metal bowls. Do the ordering thing again by tapping them. Arrange by pitch, volume, whatever.... Vary this activity by adding a measuring cup of water into each of the bowl and arrange again. Describe how the sound changes. Speculate what will happen when you add another cup of water to each bowl. Be sure to say why the proposed changes change. (Scientific method of inquiry here.....hypothesis and all)
4. Tap the bowls on the rims, the sides, upside down, with your hand on the bottom, etc. Name the changes.
5. Wanna see a vibration???? (This is so cool....I know probably everyone's done this, but I just love to see kids' faces....) Take your biggest metal bowl and a nice soft mallet (a BX or BM would be fine). Add some water to the bottom of the bowl (say...a half or three-quarter inches in a 12" diameter bowl). Tap the bottom of the bowl gently then harder and harder and watch the vibrations in the water. I love to tap and harder and harder till the water splashes in their faces, much to their absolute delight!
6. Now, this one is fun...... tap the bottom of the bowl and then tilt the bowl round and round kinda like you're rinsing out a pot. Listen to the sound change. Ask why!
7. Now get into timbre and mallet choice..... hit the bowls with different mallets and notice the differences in the sound. Be sure to get around to describing the sounds and then apply the sounds to the mallet terms...soft mallet, hard, wood, etc. This one activity really made a big impact on my kids' mallet choices. It was like the big aha had never hit them before...any mallet was good enough. This really seemed to "bring it home".
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Terrific!! :This is a series of experiments about sound and its application to animals, musical instruments and communications. This unit was designed for use in the second grade and includes worksheets.
Mysterious Magic Vibrating Violins Moving Molecules Great Gongs Wonderful Waves Beat The Drum Redirecting Ripples Animal Challenge 3 Animal Challenge 1 Radical Reeds Perfect Pitch Terrific Telephones Groovy Guitars Sonic Speed Animal Challenge 2 Super Sonar Animal Challenge 4
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Study guide for "The Magic School Bus: Inside the Haunted House" (Find video on ebay or Amazon.com)
1. The Magic School Bus in ________________ _____________________.
2. _____________ was not happy with the sound of his invented instrument.
3. The kids were going to a rehearsal at the ____________ museum.
4. Carlo's instrument kept looking ___________ but sounded _______________.
5. What did the books in the library do that was unusual? _______________________________
7. Who made the echo that the students heard from the bedroom? ______________________.
8. Every room in the house was made to show different things about __________________.
9. When the strings stopped ____________ the sound stopped.
10. Sound is made by vibration. True or False ________________
11. High sounds are made by something vibrating ______________ (fast or slow)
12. Sound waves travel just like ripples in _____________.
13. It didn't matter how Carlos' instrument looked as long as it ______________________.
14. An echo is made by sound waves _______________________.
15. Carlos' instrument could not vibrate because there was not enough 'stuff' on it. (True or False) ________________
16. You can never see sound waves because they travel too___________________.
17. A loud sound is a ________________ vibration.
18. Our ears turn sound into something our _____________ can handle.
OR You can download the study guide by going to http://www.hearttoart.com/brmusic. Scroll to the bottom of the page and click on Resources for Music Teachers.
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MOSES GOES TO A CONCERT by Isaac Millman It's about a boy, Moses, and his classmates who are deaf. They go to a concert where they hear a percussionist, who is also hearing impaired, perform. At the beginning of the concert, the teacher gives all the students balloons to hold which enables them to feel the vibrations. The percussionist also explains to the students how she plays in her stocking feet so she can feel the orchestra playing. Good book for lower elementary students, but older kids would probably also be able to benefit from the story. Obviously, the story can be read and you can come up with many extensions with students, balloons, etc. The mystery experiment sounds like it would fit right in there.
SOUNDS WE FOUND books 1 and 2 from Shawnee Press They have alot of acoustic/sound projects to go along with the songs. I don't remember if there's anything with balloons---oh yes there is--because years back I did it and the principal chastised me because she said balloons are dangerous for kids!
MAGIC SCHOOL BUS - IN THE HAUNTED MUSEUM (on vibration) If you are studying acoustics on sound is excellent resource. It gives an elementary view of why sounds are high and low, loud and soft with an interesting story and great visuals on why sounds sound the way they do. It is a mystery but the name of it eludes me.
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