Hands-On Activities About Sound

for Upper Elementary Students


Directions: Prepare each lesson by following the suggestions for each work sheet. Print out each sheet for students to use with hands-on activities.

Suggestion: Have students work with a partner to complete each sheet.

Page 1 - Introduction : Students think and write about sound and listen to ambient sounds.

Page 2

Page 3

Students use plastic cups, rubber bands and rulers to find out about vibration.

Page 4 - Students use cups, rubber bands and rulers to learn about pitch.

Page 5 - Students use cups, rubber bands and rulers to learn about volume.

Page 6 - Studying wave motion.

Suggestion: Use a clear glass pie plate with water in it. Place the pie plate on top of an overhead projector so that the students can see the motion of the water. Drop in a rock and a cork. Students draw what they see.

Page 7 - Students look at wave patterns as shown on an oscilloscope (see below).


Computer programs , such as Sound Effects , a Shareware program, Sound View or Sound Vision , both freeware programs, can be used to view the sound waves produced by various sources.

Use a computer projection system so that all the students may see the patterns. Students are to label each wave pattern/sound by describing the volume (high, medium, or loud) and the pitch (low, medium or high).

Page 8

Page 9

Students blow across the tops of bottles of water which have been prepared by the teacher, tuned to the first five notes of the major scale.

Suggestion: Prepare enough bottles so that each pair has a set of five bottles,tuned to the first five steps of the major scale by placing the appropriate amount of water in each one. Use sections of plastic straws to blow across the tops of the bottles to avoid the spread of germs.

Page 10

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Page 12

Students play a variety of classroom musical instruments to determine how the sound is produced, whether it can change pitch or volume, and if so, how pitch and volume are changed.

Suggestion: The teacher can set up instruments in various parts of the room. Allow about 8 minutes for each station. Use these instruments or others that are available: piano, drum, recorder, guitar, claves and autoharp.