Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Unit Resource Portfolio: Sound

Sound is all around us.  We can hear it and we can produce it, but can we see it?  As we may not be able to see the energy traveling through the air from the source to our ears, we are able to see the affects that sound vibrations have on our world.  The following unit plan will cover two weeks of instruction where the students will engage in meaningful hand's on activities designed to make a personal connection between their experiences and the unseen presence of sound waves.  We will explore sound vibrations, sound waves, pitch, tone, amplification, how sound travels through different media, how sound can be seen and measured, how sound is received , processed, and re-transmitted through everyday communication.  We will compare and contrast how humans and animals use sounds to communicate (sonar: bats, whales, dolphins).

Virginia Standards of Learning
5.2 The student will investigate and understand how sound is created and transmitted, and how it is used. Key concepts include
a)    compression waves;
b)    vibration, compression, wavelength, frequency, amplitude;
c)    the ability of different media (solids, liquids, and gases) to transmit sound; and
d)    uses and applications of sound waves.

Understanding the Standard (Background Information for Instructor Use Only)
  • Sound is a form of energy produced and transmitted by vibrating matter.
  • Sound waves are compression (longitudinal) waves.
  • When compression (longitudinal) waves move through matter (solid, liquid, or a gas), the molecules of the matter move backward and forward in the direction in which the wave is traveling. As sound waves travel, molecules are pressed together in some parts (compression) and in some parts are spread out (rarefaction). A child’s toy in the form of a coil is a good tool to demonstrate a compression (longitudinal) wave.
  • The frequency of sound is the number of wavelengths in a given unit of time.
  • The wavelength of sound is the distance between two compressions or between two rarefactions. 
  • The wavelength can be measured from any point on a wave as long as it is measured to the same point on the next wave.
  • When we talk, sound waves travel in air. Sound also travels in liquids and solids. Sound waves must have a medium through which to travel.
  • In a vacuum sound cannot travel because there is no matter for it to move through.
  • Pitch is determined by the frequency of a vibrating object. Objects vibrating faster have a higher pitch than objects vibrating slower.
  • A change in frequency of sound waves causes an audible sensation—a difference in pitch.
  • Amplitude is the amount of energy in a compression (longitudinal) wave and is related to intensity and volume. For example, when a loud sound is heard, it is because many molecules have been vibrated with much force. A soft sound is made with fewer molecules being vibrated with less force.
  • Sound travels more quickly through solids than through liquids and gases because the molecules of a solid are closer together. Sound travels the slowest through gases because the molecules of a gas are farthest apart.
  • Some animals make and hear ranges of sound vibrations different from those that humans can make and hear.
  • Musical instruments vibrate to produce sound. There are many different types of musical instruments and each instrument causes the vibrations in different ways. The most widely accepted way to classify musical instruments is to classify them by the way in which the sound is produced by the instrument. The four basic classifications are percussion instruments (e.g., drums, cymbals), stringed instruments (e.g., violin, piano, guitar), wind instruments (e.g., flute, clarinet, trumpet, trombone), and electronic instruments (e.g., electronic organ, electric guitar).

Day 1 – Introduction to Sound Waves SOL 5.2a
Objectives - Students will:
  • Recognize that sound is energy that travels on invisible waves.
  • Explain the relationship between frequency and pitch
  • Demonstrate that frequency is dependent on the amplitude of the vibration at the source of the sound.
To begin my lesson on sound, I first need to introduce and describe what a wave is. I will begin by asking the students what they already know about sound. Next, I will ask them if they had ever been to the beach and watched the waves come in. (if yes, I would ask if the waves are always the same or are they different at times? (How are they different – height, frequency). I would use this as an introduction to waves by making a comparison between ocean waves and sound waves. A detailed description of the discussion can be found at Describing Sound Waves by Comparing to Ocean Waves

The students will complete wave diagrams (to be put in their notebooks), labeling, matching vocabulary terms to their meanings.

Day 2 – Waves, Wavelength SOL 5.2a

Objectives: Students will:
  • Create models to explain how sound is formed, how it affect matter, and how it travels
We will start class with a funny spoof from Bill Science Guy Bill Nye The Science Guy: "Sound is a Vibe" video. Prior to this video, the teacher will distribute vocabulary check lists and instruct the students to conduct a Think-Pair-Share with their pre-assigned partner and mark off the term that they are familiar with then share their meaning for identified term that differ with their partner.
Then show the YouTube video shot at the Virginia Museum of Science. Science of Sound Video

The vocabulary checklist extends to this video as well. This video will describe in detail the meanings of the definitions and conceptual ideas. The students will resume their pairings and discuss any new understandings. After 5 minutes, we will open this up to a class sharing.

Far assessment, students will begin a KWL chart in their student journal notebook to demonstrate their understanding of key concepts of sound .

We will wrap up the lesson with a Simple Phone Sound Experiment by making predictions and recording observations.

Days 3 & 4 – Sound Waves and Our Environment SOL 5.2a,c
Objectives: Students will
  • Evaluate how the human body (ears, voice box) receive and transmit sound waves
  • Compare and contrast the sounds (voice) that humans hear to that of animals. This includes bats, dogs, and whales.
The students should understand that sound is energy that travels in invisible waves, as well as, vibrations and mediums before the following activity. They should understand that when a vibration travels through the air and into our ear canal it vibrates the eardrum, and they should understand that the vibrations of our vocal chords create our voice.

We will continue with the KWL chart from yesterday on what they think they know about sound then transition to 6 different stations where the students will observe and record their observations. The materials and station set up can be found on the following web page
The Phenomenon of Sound Waves Activities

The Sound Wave Activities Will Consume TWO (2) Class Periods

Day 5 – Sound Waves and Musical Instruments SOL 5.2c
Objectives: Students will
  • Create an instrument capable of playing the basic musical scale
  • Observe a class made instrument (woodwinds) Play Those Pipes Again, Sam
  • Compare and contrast how different types of musical instruments make sound.

Create an instrument, Bass, J. et all, Activities for Teaching Science as Inquiry, Allyn & Bacon (2007), Pages A-60-61.
  • Lesson plan for making a guitar with box and rubber bands

We will rehash the concepts of vocabulary/concepts from our KWL charts and the stations activities yesterday.  We will begin today’s lesson by creating musical pipes using PVC tubes of varying lengths. Based on our prior knowledge, I will ask the students to predict the pitch and tone of each tube. After the experiment, I will ask the students to think about the characteristics of other types of instruments and what the direct relationship between those and sound (describe wave lengths, frequency, and pitch).
We will round out today’s class be creating a simulated guitar using a box and rubber bands.

Formative assessments will be based on teacher observations during activities, paying close attention to use of vocabulary and applications of fundamental principles.

 Summative assessments will consist of the student playing a scale and the rubric will be scaled in 5 of the 7 categories of the supplied rubric

Day 6- Sound and Matter: Relationship SOL 5.2b
Objectives: Students will
  • Observe the effects of sound waves through different mediums (air, water, sediment)
  • Compare and contrast sound traveling through a solid with a sound traveling through the air.
  • Compare and contrast sounds passing through different mediums

The students will start off by watching a 15 minute video on “The Case of the Barking Dogs” Barking dog then move directly into 4 person groups to compare and contrast the sounds (voice) that humans make and hear to that of other animals. This includes bats, dogs, and whales. The students will listen to different sounds and try to match them up on the accompanied scientific observation packets. 

Day 7– Sound Vocabulary 5.2 a-c
Objectives: Students will
  • Demonstrate their understanding of basic terminology and work with a partner to sort and classify terms with concepts of sound.

The class will begin with another way of modeling the sound wave.  We would then stretch out a slinky from end to end and have a student come up and pull a portion of the slinky back towards one end and let it go (the students would observe a pulse running from one end to the next. Then we would repeat the action this time doing it 5 times in succession – this would emulate the action of the waves coming in.

 The students will work in teams of 4 to create graphic organizers for vocabulary using the Frayer Model. We will apply our understanding to our observations, predictions, and inferences drown from the link provided below. 
Sound Waves and Music. The Physics Classroom. http://www.physicsclassroom.com/Class/sound/soundtoc.html  

Day 8 – Sounds: Uses and Applications SOL 5.2c
Objectives: Students will

  • Engage in a group discussion to identify both living and man-made sonar communications
  • Analyze and record the relationship between length and speed of sound waves and the medium in which they originated (water, soil/rock, air)

Start lesson with students, discussing as a group, what comes to mind when they think of the word sonar (bats eco-location, whales, dolphins, submarines, obstruction indicator warning system on newer vehicles) Ask them if they think that sound travels faster in air or in water? Water. Have you ever communicated with a friend while submerged in a swimming pool. Sounds are distorted but arrive much faster in water.
Have the students engage in a paired group activity using Fossweb: Physics of Sound Interactive for sound waves traveling in air and water. Have the students’ chart the time elapsed at a series of distances from the sound source. Ask the students to evaluate the differences using estimated ratios for each distance and to identify a set of distances where the elapsed time is equal (record the distances)

The students will then write in their journals using diagrams and content reflections for the day.

Day 9 – Sound Applications SOL 5.2c

Objectives: Students will
  • Compare and contrast how different types of musical instruments make sound

We will start the lesson with an interactive activity on the Whiteboard String Thing - PBS Kids. Have some volunteers come up and create a musical piece using input from their classmates. Before we listen to the piece, the teacher asks the class to predict how it will sound (awful, good, or awesome). After listening, we will apply our knowledge of vibration, wavelengths, and pitch to create a more compelling composition. The students will work in groups of three to create a 3 circle Venn diagram (each circle to represent a medium of sound through) and brainstorm a list of characteristics, uses, similarities, and differences to be used to complete the diagram.
A class discussion will round out the lesson.

Day 10 – Comparing Sound and Light Waves SOL 5.3

Objectives: The students will
  • Apply learned principles to compare and contrast sound and light waves
To compliment our review, I thought it would be meaningful to make the wave-to-wave comparison (not an all-out introduction of new material). I will show a short 11 minute YouTube video Waves: Light and Sound to give them a glimpse of what is ahead next week, as well as, use our class discussion after the video to gauge the overall level of understanding from the class, thus being able to address anything that bares the need for clarification.

Assessments will be formative to plug any loose holes in student understanding. 

Literature Connection


Useful Web Sites:
Reeko’s Mad Scientist Lab – numerous experiments about various concepts)

Acoustical Oceanography Lesson (Lesson plan on Sound Use by Marine Mammals.)

Sound: Slide Show Slide show for sound.

Advanced Wave Interactive Demo (Interactive demo – change the pitch and see the wavelengths change.)

The Phenomenon of Sound Waves (Lesson plans on sound waves.)

Read Lesson 2 - Sound: Echos Activity (Language Arts/Social Studies integration on science with Greek mythology and sound.)

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