Engineering of Sound
During the 8 lessons of the Sound unit, students will gain understanding of various aspects of sound, including production, perception, properties, and characteristics. Students will also investigate the operation of musical instruments and sound equipment used in communication.
To start, students experiment with cups, strings, and rubber bands as they observe that sound is produced by the vibration of objects in motion. Through hands-on experimentation students begin to build on the foundation that sound is a type of energy we can hear. Subsequent lessons challenge students to continue reflecting on sounds and vibrations as they consider objects in their environment. More experimentation leads students to associate the energy of movement with the sounds objects produce.
Additional lessons build on this concept as students explore the principles of volume. Experimenting with a metallophone demonstrates the correlation between how loud a sound is and the force used to make the sound. Next, students use string phones to experiment with the travel of sound. Discussions, reflections, and activities reinforce the concept that sound can pass through solids, liquids, and air.
In the second half of the unit, students build string instruments and experiment with the variables that affect its sounds. Through concrete experiences students recognize the relationship between the strings’ tension and the pitch with which it vibrates. With a focus on percussion instruments, students will learn that drums vibrate to make sounds. They will construct two different drums to compare their pitch. The final two lessons have students investigate how we use electricity to make sound by building small circuits that include buzzers. Observing concrete models of abstract concepts continues in the final lesson, as students explore sound waves. In this lesson a Slinky™ provides a visual representation of the motion of a sound wave.