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Help with Sound and Hearing Unit


New Member
Hello!!!! I am teaching a unit on sound and hearing and was wondering if anyone had any neat/cool/activities they did with their students. I have some experiments but what I am really looking for is something that is going to grab their interest. Thanks so much


For Easter I filled plastic Easter eggs with a variety of materials. For example, one was filled with safety pins, and another was filled with marshmellows. I filled about a dozen eggs, taped each egg shut, and labeled each egg with a letter. On a chart I listed all the contents. They had to listen carefully to the sounds coming from inside the eggs to determine which contents are in each egg.


Senior Member
Ideas for sound

--AIMS has a book entitled Primarily Physics that has many excellent sound activities.
--If you have access to enchantedlearning.com, there are many great ideas there too.
--I love the plastic egg idea. To extend it, get plastic eggs on sale at an after-Easter sale. Put six to twelve eggs in egg cartons and send them home. Students will fill them, tape them, bring them to school, and trade cartons with another child.
--Read The Listening Walk by Paul Showers. Go on a listening walk of your own. Have students make a list of what they hear while on your walk.
--Teach onomatopoeia and write a class/small group/individual story/poem using it.
--Borrow instruments from your music teacher to feel vibrations.
--Make musical instruments like a drum, paper noisemaker, simple shakers, rain sticks, rubber band guitar, bottle pipes (I had a “bring your own wine cooler party” in order to collect enough bottles for this activity.), and cardboard flutes. Books like Making Music by Eddie Herschel Oates, Making Musicial Things by Ann Wiseman, Sound, Noise, and Music by Mick Seller, and Making Sounds by Julian Rowe can give you more ideas.
--Borrow models or find diagrams of the voice box and inside of the ear. Label the diagrams.
--Make a tape of sounds. (Leave space between the sounds so you can stop the tape.) Have students use a piece of paper to number one to ten/fifteen/twenty, depending on how many sounds you record. The sounds could be things like a flushing toilet, wash machine, dryer, running water, teakettle whistling, etc. Have students identify the sounds and write their answers on their paper. (I never made my own tape of sounds. I borrowed a pre-made one from a kindergarten teacher. It was so much easier.)
--Make a talking string/simple telephone using cans/tubes and string. My students just love this activity!
--Sound Concentration
Materials: Plastic film containers (not the see-through ones) with lids and assorted small objects which will fit in the containers such as beans, pennies, marbles, tacks, paper clips, salt, small pebbles, beads etc.
Preparation: Put the object in the containers so that you have two containers of each object. Put caps on containers.
1. Give each student a container. Have each student shake their container and listen for the sound made by the objects inside.
2. Have the students move around the room with their containers and listen to the sounds made by the other students’ containers. Their task is to find the other person with a container that sounds just like theirs.
3. When students find their partner, they should stand together in a group and wail until all sets of partners have found each other.
4. Have partners discuss and share ideas about what they think is in their containers and how many of each object. No caps should be removed.
5. Ask each set of partners, one group at a time, to share with the entire group their predictions about the contents of the containers. Then the partners can take off the container caps and show the class what was inside. Continue until all groups have had a chance to share their predictions and results with the class.
What methods or strategies did you use to make your predictions and find your partner? What made some of the objects easier or more difficult to identify? What are some other objects that you think would be interesting and challenging for kids to identify this way? (You may want to have your students make their own “mystery object” containers for their classmates to identify.)
--Sound Center: Use the film containers, but put different objects inside. Number each container. Make a worksheet showing numbers only. Have students make predictions and write it by the correct number on the worksheet. When completed, students may open the container to check their prediction.
The Conversation Club by Diane Stanley (This book is one of my favorites.)
Ben’s Trumpet by Rachel Isadora
Mama Don’t Allow by Thatcher Hurd
What is Sound? By Gabriel H. Reuben
Sound and Light by David Glover
Exploring Sound by Ed Catherall
Sound by Terry Cash
Koko’s Kitten by Dr. Francine Patterson
Sound Science by Etta Kanner
Horton Hears a Who! by Dr. Seuss
Granddaddy and Janetta by Helen Griffith
Granddaddy’s Stars by Helen Griffith
Granddaddy’s Place by Helen Griffith
Georgia Music by Helen Griffith
The Banza by Diane Wolkstein
The Amazing Bone by William Steig
Ty’s One-Man Band by Mildred Pitts Walter
Mouth Sounds by Fred Neuman
Miranda by Tricia Tusa
Berlioz the Bear by Jan Brett
The Science Book of Sound by Neil Ardly
An Introduction of Musical Instrument Series by Dee Lillelguard
Periwinkle by Roger Duvoisin
The Magic School Bus in the Haunted House (I believe this is also on video.)
Peter and the Wolf (Listen to a recording of this story where the characters are identified by instruments.)
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apple annie

Senior Member
Simple but effective

What I always do to introduce the unit is have the kids hum or talk with a partner and then feel each other's throats, to see that sound is vibration. It seems kinds like a "DUHHH" thing to do, but my students are always fascinated.

Kat's Mom

Senior Member
simple sound wave demonstration

I like to bring in a big kettle, cover the top tightly w/ aluminum foil and sprinkle salt on it. We then use different items, ie., banging a pot lid with a spoon, a volunteer screamer, a whistle, etc., and I have the children make that noise close to the salt to watch it "dance". This is an excellent visual to prove to them that sound waves may not be visible, but they are moving nonetheless.


Senior Member
If you can

get your hands on a tuning fork it will make an impact on your students. They will feel the vibration the sound makes as well as hear the tone.

Kat's Mom

Senior Member
more regarding tuning fork...

To bounce off Azure's suggestion, a tuning fork can be tons of fun. My kids always enjoy me striking it, getting one of them to hold a full glass of water, and then sticking the tuning fork in to show that the sound waves travel (and splash!) in water very well. It is also fun to experiment with the tuning fork on the end of a plastic cup or the garbage can to show how a megaphone works.