Overview of Section Resources

Section 1: What Is Sound?
Students begin their investigation of sound by listening to sounds and noting differences in pitch and volume. They experiment to find out what makes a loud sound and what makes a soft sound. Students also learn that sounds are made by vibrating objects. They are given the opportunity to feel the vibrations of the tines of a tuning fork and see the vibrations make ripples in water.
Section 2: Speaking and Hearing
Students learn that their vocal chords vibrate as air passes through them, producing sound. Students practice varying the pitch and volume of their voices. Using a homemade kazoo, they feel the vibrations of the membrane that create the sound. They also construct a model of the ear canal and ear drum and use it to learn how we hear sounds.
Section 3: Changing Pitch
Students learn about the variables that affect pitch. They pluck a string and observe what happens to the pitch as the length and tension of the string change. Then they compare the pitch of sounds produced by plucked rubber bands of different widths. They look inside a stringed instrument to see how the instrument is able to produce a wide variety of pitched notes. Finally, they tap glass bottles filled with varying amounts of water and see how the amount of water in the bottles affects the pitch of the sound produced.
Section 4: How Sound Travels
In this section, students learn that sounds travel differently through solids, liquids, and gases. Students compare the quality of sound traveling through solids, liquids, and gases and conclude that sound travels best through solids and least well through gases.