Sound

Science Year 3/4 Sounds Spectacular!

A new rhythm band called “Sounds Spectacular” is being set up. The band members want to make great music using rhythms and tunes made from everyday items. Dave, the leader of the band needs a sound consultant to help him understand the scientific aspects involved, e.g. How will the audience hear the music? How can they change the volume or the pitch of the sounds? Dave hopes you will be able to help but it will mean setting up some investigations and getting to grips with some scientific research. Are you up to the challenge?

Session 1 Sound all around

Objectives

Dave, the leader of the new rhythm band is asking for our help as sound consultants. Can you investigate how different sounds are made and discover how our ears can detect them?

Science Objectives
i) Identify how sounds are made, associating some of them with something vibrating.
ii) Find patterns between the volume of a sound and the strength of the vibrations that produced it.

Working Scientifically

  1. Ask relevant questions and use different types of scientific enquiries to answer them.

Other Curriculum Areas
Music

  • Appreciate and understand a wide range of high-quality live and recorded music drawn from different traditions and from great composers and musicians.

You Will Need

Provided Resources

  • Year 3 and 4 Task Sheets
  • Teachers’ Notes

Additional Resources

  • A variety of everyday objects which can be used to make repeated sounds, e.g. tubs, plastic bottles (some empty and some containing beads, dried peas or lentils), cardboard boxes (taped around the outside to keep them in shape), saucepans and lids, wooden and metal spoons, paint brushes, thick card, plastic cups, mugs, marbles, shells and gravel

Teaching and Activities

Teaching

  • Investigate how different sounds are made.
  • Understand that sounds are made when objects vibrate.

Activities

  1. Watch a film clip of the rhythm band ‘Stomp, and discuss the sounds, rhythm and genre (Yrs3&4).
  2. Consider how everyday objects make sounds and know that these can be turned into music (Yrs3&4).
  3. Create a bank of favourite sounds with explanations of how they are generated (Yrs3&4) and consider how each sound can be varied (Yr4).
  4. Deduce that sounds are made from vibrations (Yrs3&4).

Investigation - exploring, analysing secondary sources
You are the Sound Consultants for a brand new rhythm band called Beat. Your first task is to discover more about how sounds are made. Experiment with different materials and different techniques. How can you use them to make sounds? Loud, soft, long, short, continuous, etc. Ask questions and seek answers through scientific enquiry.
Year 3 - Create a variety of different sounds and sort them according to given criteria.
Year 4 - Create a variety of sounds and generate criteria to sort them.

Vocabulary
Music, sound, noise, investigate, explain, vibration, vibrate, ears, hear

Session 2 Good vibrations challenge

Objectives

Dave wants to rehearse in his garage but will the sound pass through solid objects like doors and walls and upset the neighbours? Are there materials that can be used to deaden the sound? And will his wife’s fish hear the sound underwater? Can you help to answer Dave’s questions by conducting your own scientific investigations?

Science Objectives
i) Identify how sounds are made, associating some of them with something vibrating.

ii) Recognise that vibrations from sounds travel through a medium to the ear.

Working Scientifically

  1. Set up simple practical enquiries and comparative and fair tests.
  2. Make systematic and careful observations and, where appropriate, take accurate measurements using standard units, using a range of equipment, including thermometers and data loggers.
  3. Gather, record, classify and present data in a variety of ways to help answer questions.

You Will Need

Provided Resources

  • Challenge Sheets
  • Y3 Task sheet
  • Guidance note on Y4 Task
  • Teachers’ Notes

Additional Resources

  • For carousel of Good Vibration tasks: 3 tuning forks and 3 bowls of water, 3 stringed instruments (e.g. guitar, ukulele, violin), some thick rubber bands, 6 rulers, 6 clean/new combs and small sheets of tracing paper (10 x 15 cm approx.) one per child
  • For Yr3 Task: 2 lidded plastic tubs per group of 4 (one very small and the other roughly shoe box size), paperclips, a wide selection of materials (large enough quantities to pack out the larger boxes) e.g. different fabrics, faux fur, bubble wrap, scrunched paper, wool (balls, jumpers or fleece), wadding, wood chips and beanbags etc
  • For the Yr4 Guided Task: A device that measures sound in decibels (if you do not have one read Teachers’ Notes for alternative suggestion), a loud alarm clock, a tank of water (e.g. large storage tub), a small watertight box, a sealable freezer bag, string and some pebbles

Teaching and Activities

Teaching

  • Investigate the nature of vibrations through touch and sight as well as hearing.
  • Set up fair tests to investigate the transmission of sound through different materials (including water - Yr4).

Activities

  1. Investigate vibrations through sight and touch as well as hearing (Yrs3&4).
  2. Discover first hand that when objects vibrate, sound is created and that vibrations spread out from the source of a sound (Yrs3&4).
  3. Investigate which materials transmit sound and which do not (Yrs3&4) including water (Yr4).

Investigation - exploring, fair testing
You have discovered that sound is made of vibrations but now the band want to know more about how sound travels and what it can travel through (air? Water? Solid objects?) Set up some investigations to compare different sounds travelling through air, water, windows, doors and walls. How can you make a louder/quieter sound? How can you keep the volume the same? Measure in decibels using a data logger.
Year 3 - Find median of 3 measurements record in given table and bar graph.
Year 4 - Find the median of 3 measurements. Create own table and bar graph.

Vocabulary
Sound, travel, air, water, solid, vibrations, source, sound waves, sound proof

Session 3 I'm all ears!

Objectives

Dave and the band have been asked to play at the local primary school for Science Week as the theme is “Sound.” They need some activities and facts to get the children thinking about their ears as sound detectors. Can you help by doing a hearing investigation to compare different ears?

Science Objectives
i) Identify how sounds are made, associating some of them with something vibrating

ii) Recognise that vibrations from sounds travel through a medium to the ear.

Working Scientifically

  1. Set up simple practical enquiries and comparative and fair tests.
  2. Record findings using simple scientific language, drawings, labelled diagrams, keys, bar charts and tables.
  3. Use results to draw simple conclusions, make predictions for new values, suggest improvements and raise further questions.

Teaching and Activities

Teaching

  • Design and conduct a fair test to answer a scientific question.
  • Record results in tables and graphs.
  • Draw conclusions and raise further questions.

Activities

  1. Take part in an active quiz game to rehearse and extend learning on sound (Yrs3&4).
  2. Consider different animal ears as sound detectors and design a class investigation to compare hearing with bare ears, a cupped hand around your ear or a cardboard animal ear (Yrs3&4).
  3. Write notes on the investigation and findings (Yr4) use data to construct a bar graph (Yr3).
  4. Discuss findings and draw conclusions (Yrs3&4).

Investigation - exploring, analysing secondary sources
The band now needs you to find out how the audience will hear the sound when the vibrations reach their ears. Why are ears that shape? Do big ears hear better than small ears? Why do you have 2 ears? What happens to vibrations when they reach your ears? Try a carousel of activities.
Year 3 - Record results using annotated drawings on a scaffolded results sheet.
Year 4 - Find own ways to record results and try to explain findings in terms of scientific understanding.

Vocabulary
Medium, transmit, ears, detect, vibration, vibrating, sound wave, energy, decibel, fair test, data, graph

Session 4 Pump up the volume!

Objectives

The band is trying to create a new piece of music that tells the story of a battle that happened long ago. Can you help by creating a marching rhythm that gets louder as the army advances and then gets quieter and fades away as the army retreats into the distance? You will need to discover the science behind changes in volume.

Science Objectives
i) Identify how sounds are made, associating some of them with something vibrating.

ii) Find patterns between the volume of a sound and the strength of the vibrations that produced it.

iii) Recognise that sounds get fainter as the distance from the sound source increases.

Working Scientifically

  1. Identify differences, similarities or changes related to simple scientific ideas and processes.
  2. Use straightforward scientific evidence to answer questions or to support findings.

Other Curriculum Areas
Music

  • Improvise and compose music for a range of purposes using the inter-related dimensions of music.

You Will Need

Provided Resources

  • Task PowerPoint
  • Y3 and 4 Task Sheets
  • Teachers’ Notes

Additional Resources

  • A variety of everyday objects which can be used to make a drum for repeated rhythms, e.g. tubs, tins, cardboard boxes (taped around the outside to keep them in shape), saucepans, crisp tubes etc. and for beaters: wooden/metal spoons, paint brushes and pens/pencils etc.
  • Dried peas, lentils, pasta shapes or beads and plastic bottles to make shakers
  • A sound probe to measure sound in decibels

Teaching and Activities

Teaching

  • Explore how you can vary the volume of a sound.
  • Explain changes of volume/loudness in terms of energy and strength of vibration.

Activities

  1. Explore how to play a repeated rhythm and change the volume up and down (Yrs3&4).
  2. Explain the changes of volume in terms of energy (Yr3) and strength of vibration (Yr4).
  3. Record decibels using a sound probe and seek to answer a question with a simple exploration (Yrs3&4).

Investigation - exploring, pattern seeking
The band want to include some instruments that can play notes of different pitch. Can you investigate different sized pipes, sticks, tubs and rubber bands to find out what happens to the pitch of the note?
Year 3 - Place a given set of “instruments” in order of pitch and explain what you notice.
Year 4 - Explain the link between pitch and size/length of a vibrating object.

Vocabulary
Loudness, volume, vibrations, strength, energy, rhythm, stronger, weaker, sound waves

Session 5 Pitch it high, pitch it low!

Objectives

The band needs your help to find out how to make tuned instruments from everyday items. You will need to investigate what makes a high pitched note and what makes a low note and use your knowledge to create a new instrument. Perhaps you can use it to play a tune?

Science Objectives
i) Identify how sounds are made, associating some of them with something vibrating.

ii) Find patterns between the pitch of a sound and features of the object that produced it.

Working Scientifically

  1. Record findings using simple scientific language, drawings, labelled diagrams, keys, bar charts and tables.
  2. Report on findings from enquiries, including oral and written explanations, displays or presentations of results and conclusions.

Other Curriculum Areas
Music

  • Understand and explore how music is created, produced and communicated, including through the inter-related dimensions: pitch, duration, dynamics, tempo, timbre, texture, structure and appropriate musical notations.

You Will Need

Provided Resources

  • Task and Plenary PowerPoints
  • Y3 and 4 Task Sheets
  • Teachers’ Notes

Additional Resources

  • For investigation: A selection of tuned instruments that make it easy to investigate pitch, e.g. xylophones, glockenspiels, chime bars, (a good number of beaters) panpipes, lap harps, tubular bells, boomwhackers, hand-chimes, hand-bells, ukulele, guitar and violin
  • For the task (see Task PowerPoint): Flowerpots, plastic tubs (with lids), metal food tins, sticks, rods, cardboard rolls, pencils, spanners etc... all in a range of different sizes, cardboard boxes, biscuit tins, lots of rubber bands, masking tape, string, paper straws, glass bottles or jars, jug of water, PVA glue, foam piping insulation, stiff card sheets, felt strips and scissors

Teaching and Activities

Teaching

  • Explore how the pitch of a note can change by varying the length, size and tightness of the vibrating object.
  • Record findings by making careful drawings and notes.

Activities

  1. Play a humming game that explores the concept of pitch (Yrs3&4).
  2. Explore a range of musical instruments and investigate how they play low and high pitched notes (Yr3&4).
  3. Create a tuned musical instrument using everyday materials, recording this with an annotated drawing that labels how the high pitched notes and low pitched notes are played (Yrs3&4).
  4. Explain the connection between pitch and the size of the vibrating object (Yr4).
  5. Play a game to reinforce the 3 ways that pitch can be changed (Yrs3&4).

Investigation - exploring, pattern seeking, fair testing
Will audiences in the back row hear as well as audiences in the front? Devise an investigation to measure what happens to sound levels as the distance from the source increases.
Year 3 - How loud does a sound need to be, to be heard at 3 different distances? Plot as discrete data.
Year 4 - Take decibel readings of a given sound at regular distances from source. Plot as continuous data.

Vocabulary
Pitch, note, high, low, vibration, tune, instrument, sound, change

Session 6 Sounds like fun!

Objectives

It’s time to test your knowledge on Sound by taking part in a quiz. Then, Dave has one last challenge for you. Can you help the band by creating an interesting learning activity on Sound for visitors to The Great City Science Fair? You will need to ask questions that can be investigated and create a poster to explain all the science involved!

Science Objectives
i) Identify how sounds are made, associating some of them with something vibrating.

ii) Recognise that vibrations from sounds travel through a medium to the ear.

iii) Find patterns between the pitch of a sound and features of the object that produced it.

iv) Find patterns between the volume of a sound and the strength of the vibrations that produced it.

v) Recognise that sounds get fainter as the distance from the sound source increases.

Working Scientifically

  1. Ask relevant questions and use different types of scientific enquiries to answer them.
  2. Identify differences, similarities or changes related to simple scientific ideas and processes.
  3. Use straightforward scientific evidence to answer questions or to support their findings.

You Will Need

Provided Resources

  • Quiz, Answers and Task PowerPoints
  • Quiz and Answers Sheets
  • Teachers’ Notes

Additional Resources

  • All the instruments that you have made previously in the block from everyday items and materials
  • Large sheets of coloured paper
  • White paper
  • Card
  • Scissors
  • Glue sticks
  • Access to the internet (optional)
  • Felt tip pens
  • Marker pens
  • Pens & pencils
  • Rulers

Teaching and Activities

Teaching

  • Consolidate prior learning on sound through questioning and setting up learning activities for others.
  • Create illustrated explanations of scientific phenomena on sound.

Activities

  1. Take part in a quiz on sound that will assess children’s learning of all the scientific concepts and vocabulary covered in this block (Yrs3&4).
  2. Design a learning activity for others on the theme of sound: asking relevant questions and giving scientific explanations (working in mixed age groups with higher expectations of Y4 children with regard to subject knowledge, organisation and leadership).
  3. Consolidate learning on sound by taking part in the exploration activities designed by others (Yrs3&4).

Investigation - exploring
It’s time to collect all your sound data together for the band but they need some performance ideas. In groups, put together a short piece of music using a range of everyday items. Can you include a variety of pitch and volume?
Year 3 /Year 4 - Work in a mixed aged group.

Vocabulary
Pitch, note, volume, vibrations, sound waves (and all other previously learnt vocabulary from block)