Monday, February 28, 2011

Sound Crossword Puzzle

Lots of kids usually like doing Crossword Puzzles. Plus it's also a way for a teacher to assess a unit to see if the students learned the important vocabulary related to a unit of study.

Learning Workroom has a FREE Crossword Puzzle on SOUND ENERGY that you can download and print.

Click Here:
Go to: Free Worksheets

Musical Instruments Survey and Frequency Chart

Science and Mathematics
  • In this activity, children can conduct a survey to find out their family and/or friends' favorite musical instruments then record the data on a frequency chart.
  • Older students can follow up the activity by making a graph to display their data.


  • clipboard or notebook
  • pencil
  • ruler
  • crayons or markers

    • Have students poll their family and friends as to their favorite musical instruments. They should mark a tally for each vote, then record this data (information) on a frequency chart.
    • Older children could use the data from the frequency chart to create a bar or other graph to display their results.The graph should include:
                         ~ title
                        ~ columns (equal to the number of instruments)
                        ~ 2 labeled axis
                         ~a numerical scale starting at zero

    • Finally students should explain their data (oral or written). Which instrument had the most votes? Which instrument had the fewest votes? Etc.
    • More advanced math students can also find the mean, medium, mode, maximum, minimum, and range for the data.

    Sunday, February 27, 2011

    Sound Words - Onomatopoeia

    Language Arts

    Onomatopoeia - words that imitate real sounds


    achoo, bang, beep, boom, bow-wow, brrr, buzz, chirp, clang, click, cluck, ding-dong, fizz, hiss, honk, meow, moo, oink, ouch, plop, pop, ring, roar, sizzle, splash, splat, thump, tick-tock, tweet, vroom, whiz, whoosh, zoom

    Suggested Teaching Ideas
    Choose the activities that are appropriate for your students depending on their ages, ability levels and interests.

    • Discuss the fact that many animal sounds are onomatopoeia. Read *literature that contains these words to your students. Brainstorm animal sound words with students and begin a class list. (meow, oink, bow-wow, moo)
    • Read *literature to the students which contains numerous examples of onomatopoeia. Have students LISTEN for the Sound Words. 
    • Create a class chart of Onomatopoeia Sounds.
    • Have children close their eyes and LISTEN for sounds.
    • Each day as children hear or read stories, riddles, etc.have them add any new onomatopoeia words that they come across to the class chart. (Continue for several weeks.)
    • Add sound words heard in everyday life to their chart.  (examples: clocks-tick-tock, cars-beep, beep)
    • Students can invent their own sound words.
    • Listen to music tapes, CDs, DVDs of nature sounds, ocean sounds, rainforest sounds, farm sounds, city sounds, country sounds, etc.
    • Have students play or listen to musical instrument sounds.
    • Have students create their own musical instruments.
    • Sing songs with sound words (Old MacDonald Had a Farm)
    • Have students illustrate sound words.
    • Share riddles and jokes that contain sound words. (lots of knock-knock jokes)
    • Make-up sentences using sound words.
    • Listen to and write poetry using onomatopoeia.
    • Read comics strips that contain onomatopoeia and highlight the sound words.
    • Work in pairs, small groups, or individually to create comic strips using onomatopoeia.
    • Act out commercials seen on TV that contain sound words.
    • Create jingles for their favorite products using onomatopoeia.
    • Watch movies that contain lots of sound words (example: Disney's Fantasia)
    • Take field trips to zoos, aquariums, etc. (or other places that have lots of sounds)
    • Attend sporting events: basketball, hockey, baseball, etc. (lots of sounds here!)
    • Attend a live symphony orchestra performance or listen to a symphony on CD, video, etc.

      *Literature Examples

      • Mother Goose and other Nursery Rhymes and Kids' Poetry
      • Common songs for children: "Old MacDonald Had a Farm"
      • Dr. Suess: Mr Brown Can Moo! Can You?
      • Raffi - The Wheels on the Bus
      • Marc Robinsom: Cock-a-doodle-doo: What Does It Sound Like to You?
      • Pam Conrad: Animal Lingo
      • Hank DeZutter: Who Says a Dog Goes Bow-wow?
      • Shel Silverstein Poetry Books: ("Noisy Day" from Falling Up, "Squishy Touch" and "Push Button" from A Light in the Attic, "The Fourth" from Where the Sidewalk Ends.)
      • Beverly Cleary: The Mouse and the Motorcycle (chapter book)

      Here is a link to a video of Mr Brown Can Moo! Can You? on the Gamequarium website.
      Click here: Mr. Brown Can Moo! Can You?

      For an alphabetical list of onomatopoeia words go here.

      Tick - Tock,  Tick - Tock

      Beep! Beep!

      To see a really cute Onomatopeia Bulletin Board from click here.


        Saturday, February 26, 2011

        Light Waves and Sound Waves Comparison

        If the students have participated in a study of both LIGHT and SOUND, they could now create a GRAPHIC ORGANIZER comparing Light Waves and Sound Waves.

        The students could draw a graphic organizer in their notebook or you could download a FREE graphic organizer from Learning Workroom's website such as the Venn Diagram.

        Go to Free Worksheets

        If the students need help, they could use dictionaries, online encyclopedias, or science books to research these topics further.

        Here are some facts that could be included in the students' graphic organizers
        • Light and sound both travel as waves.
        • Light waves and sound waves are both forms of energy.
        • Both types of waves change their speed when they travel through various media.
        • Both light waves and sound waves can be reflected and refracted.
        • Light waves travel faster than sound waves.
        • Sound waves travel slower than light waves.
        • Light waves do NOT require a medium through which to travel
        • Sound waves require a medium through which to travel.
        • Light waves can travel through space or in a vacuum.
        • Sound waves can not travel through space or in a vacuum.
        • Sound travels best through opaque objects. 
        • Light does not travel through opaque objects.

        Friday, February 25, 2011

        Make a Percussion Instrument

        Making a Xylophone

        The xylophone is a percussion instrument.

        • 3 - 8 jars, glasses or bottles (all the same size)
        • water
        • food coloring (optional)
        • spoon

        • Fill each glass with a different amount of water.
        • Add food coloring to each glass if desired.

        • Line up the glasses on a desk or table in random order.
        • Tell the students that they (or the teacher with younger students) will be tapping gently on the glasses and listening to the sounds of each glass.
        • Ask students to predict if the pitch of sound will be the same or different for each glass. (different pitches)
        • Have the students (or teacher) tap gently on the glasses with a spoon.
        • Ask if they hear sounds of different pitches. (Yes!)
        • Ask why they think the sounds make different pitches. (varying amounts of water)
        • Ask if the students can put the glasses in order from highest pitch to the lowest pitch by just looking at them.
        • Allow students (or the teacher) to arrange the glasses then have the students (or teacher) tap gently on the glasses to see if they are in the correct order. (The students or teacher may rearrange if necessary.)  

          clipart by

          Explanation: The glass with the least amount of water will have the highest pitch. (It is vibrating the fastest.) The glass with the most water has the lowest pitch. (It is vibrating the slowest.)

          Make a Guitar

          • A guitar is a STRING INSTRUMENT
          • When you pluck the strings (rubber bands), they VIBRATE and make a sound.

          • box, pan, or other container without a top
          • 5-6 rubber bands (all different widths)


          • Begin with the widest rubber band and place it around the box.
          • Then choose the next widest rubber band and place it approximately 1/2 - 1 inch away from the first rubber band.
          • Continue until all the rubber bands are placed around the box.
          • Make a prediction about the pitch of sound (lowness and highness) that you will hear as you pluck each string.
          • Pluck each string (rubber band).
          • Observe the strings vibrate and listen to the sounds.
          • What difference is heard in the pitch of sound when plucking the strings?
          • Try to play a tune with your new guitar.

          Explanation: The wider the string the lower the pitch of the sound. The narrower the string the higher the pitch of sound.

          Thursday, February 24, 2011

          Make a String Instrument

          Making a Harp 

          • The harp is a STRING INSTRUMENT. 
          • The strings (rubber bands) VIBRATE (move back and forth quickly) as the instrument is plucked.
          • The tighter the strings (rubber bands) the higher the note. 
          • The looser the strings, the lower the note.


          • baking pan, baking tin, box, or other open top container
          • 5 - 8 rubber bands


          • Place the rubber bands around the pan spacing them evenly.
          • Tighten or loosen some of the strings (rubber bands) to change the pitch.
          • Pluck the strings to make them vibrate.
          • Try to tune the rubber bands so that you can make a musical scale.

          Other string instruments: guitar, violin, banjo

          Wednesday, February 23, 2011

          Make a Wind Instrument Craft

          When you play a musical instrument, it makes the air around you vibrate (move back and forth rapidly).  The air carries the vibrations to your ears and your eardrums vibrate so that you can hear the sounds made by the musical instrument.

          Pan Pipes are a simple wind instrument. When they are played, the air inside the tubes (straws) vibrates to make a sound.


          • 6-8 straws per person
          • cardboard or heavy oaktag paper
          • glue
          • scissors


          • Cut 2 rectangular pieces of cardboard for each instrument (approx. 6 inches by 1 1/2  inches)
          • Place and glue the straws on one of the pieces of cardboard, leaving approx. 1 inch above the cardboard

          • Glue the other piece of cardboard over the first piece of cardboard. The straws will now be between both pieces of cardboard.

          • Trim the bottom of the straws with a scissors so that each one is a little shorter than the one before it. 

          • Have the straws facing downward and hold the straws to your mouth as you blow across the tops to make MUSIC.

           The shorter the straws, the higher the pitch.
           The longer the straws, the lower the pitch.

          Other wind instruments: flute, clarinet, trombone, saxophone

          Tuesday, February 22, 2011

          Sound: Intensity and Pitch

          What is the difference between the INTENSITY and the PITCH of Sound?

          clipart by


          The VOLUME of sound is called Intensity.The softness or loudness of sound is its Intensity.
          The intensity of sound depends on how strongly an object vibrates. Intensity is measured in decibels.

          • Have the children say their names softly and then loudly. 
          • Ask children to name 3 soft sounds and 3 loud sounds that are in their environment.
          • Then have them think of some in between (medium) sounds.
          • Children can label 3 columns in their science notebooks and make a list of soft, loud, and in between sounds or you can print out a Free Graphic Organizer for them to use on Learning Workroom's website. 
          • Children can later get together to read and share their lists. 

           Go to: Free Worksheets


          The lowness or highness of sound is its Pitch. The pitch of sound depends on how fast the object vibrates. Something that vibrates slowly makes a low-pitched sound. Something that vibrates very fast makes a high-pitched sound. For example, sounds from a tuba make a low pitch. Sounds produced by a flute make a high pitch. The number of vibrations per second can be counted. This is called frequency.

          Have students try this simple experiment to hear the difference between high and low-pitched sounds.

          • empty shoe box or other box without a cover
          • rubber bands

          • Put a rubber band around the box. Make the band as slack as possible.
          • Tell the students that they will be snapping the rubber band and observing the vibrations while they listen to the sound.
          • Ask students to predict if the tightness of looseness of the rubber band will make any difference in the vibrations or pitch of the sound when they snap the band.
          • Have students snap the rubber band and listen to its sound as they OBSERVE the band's vibrations.
          • Repeat, but make the band as tight as possible.
          • Try different rubber bands (vary the width of the bands).
          • Have the students record the results of their experiments in their science notebooks.

          Explanation: The tighter the band, the faster the vibrations, thus the higher the pitch of sound. The looser the band, the slower the vibrations, thus the lower the pitch of sound.


          Here is a Brain Pop Jr. Video on Woodwind Instruments which will introduce the students to the wind instruments and explain more on this topic of  PITCH

          Click Here: Woodwind Instruments

          Monday, February 21, 2011

          Sound Book and Video with Ms. Frizzle

          Lots of children enjoy sharing Ms Frizzle's adventures in The Magic School Bus collection of science books and videos. Here is a link to a Magic School Bus video about Ears, Hearing, and Sound. It is called The Magic School Bus In the Haunted House. The book is also available in libraries, online, and in lots of stores.

          The Magic School Bus In The Haunted Museum: A Book About Sound


          clipart by

          Sunday, February 20, 2011

          Does Sound Travel Through Solids?

          • Sound travels through solids, liquids, and gasses. 
          • Matter through which sound travels is called a medium.
          • Solids such as wood, steel, and string are good sound media.

          The following activities will demonstrate that sound can travel through solids and that sound travels better through solids than gasses (air).

          • desk(s)
          • 2 cups per pair of students
          • string
          • pencil

          Directions - Activity 1
          • Ask the students to predict if sound can travel through a solid (such as a wood or metal desk).
          • Ask the students if they think sound travels better through air (a gas) or wood (a solid).
          • Have a student(s) listen as he/she taps 2 fingers on a desk.
          • Have the student(s) repeat the tapping but this time place one ear on the desk.
          • What did he/they notice? Which sound was louder? (the 2nd time).
          • Have the students explain the results. (Sound did travel through a solid. Sound traveled better through the solid than through the air.)

          Directions - Activity 2
          • Ask the students to predict if sound can travel through string (a solid).
          • Have the children construct a cup and string telephone.
                             Use a pencil to poke a small hole in the bottom of each cup.
                             Push one end of the string into each cup and tie a large knot on the        
                             inside of each cup.
          • Have both children stand a few feet apart and hold the string taut between them. Have one child talk into his/her cup as the other child puts his/her cup up to his ear to listen.
          • Ask the students what they concluded from the activity. Did the string (a solid) carry sound vibrations?
          • The students can also repeat this experiment with a loose string to see if it will work.

          Can You Identify the Sound?

          Sound Identification Activity

          In this activity students will listen to sounds of objects that are hidden inside similar containers. They will shake the containers, describe the sounds they hear, and try to name the objects in the containers based on the sound it makes.

          • 6 or more plastic containers with lids (You may want to number the containers.)
          • a collection of items that fit inside the containers (pennies, crayons, pebbles, rice, sand, erasers, straws, etc.)
          • paper and pen (optional)

          • Students (or the teacher) shake a container and listen to the sounds.
          • Students describe the sound they hear.
          • Students write, draw, or say aloud what they think is in the container.
          • The container is opened and students check their answer.
          • Continue these steps with all the other containers.

          Follow-up Discussion Questions
          1. Which container had the loudest sound?
          2. Which container had the softest sound?
          3. Were any of the sounds similar? Which ones?
          4. Which was the easiest sound to identify? Why?
          5. Which was the hardest sound to identify? Why?

          Saturday, February 19, 2011

          How Does Sound Travel?

          Sound Travels in Waves 

          A sound wave is a vibration that moves through matter. It spreads out in all directions (think of dropping a pebble into a puddle of water and watching the ripples it makes). 


          Sound waves travel back and forth. Here are 3 ways to illustrate this back and forth motion for children. 

          Using a Slinky Toy

          Stretch out the Slinky on a smooth floor
          Have someone hold one end.
          Holding the other end, give it a heavy push toward the other person.
          The coils bunch up together then spread out. Sound waves travel like that too.

          Using a Rope

          Tie one end of a rope on a post or door handle.
          Hold the other end tightly.
          Shake your hand to make the wave.

          Using Dominoes

          clipart by

          Have dominoes represent tiny particles of matter called molecules.
          Line up the dominoes (molecules) approximately 2 cm. apart.
          Push the first domino into the second domino.
          Watch all the dominoes fall over.
          Sound energy is transferred from one domino (molecule) to another as they fall.


          Friday, February 18, 2011

          Sound Video (Bill Nye)

          Bill Nye the Science Guy adds lots of  humor to his teaching of science. He is very popular with kids, parents, and science teachers.

          Bill has a science video on Sound for kids.

           Click Here: Bill Nye on Sound

          Thursday, February 17, 2011

          Sound Energy Word Search Puzzle

          Most kids like completing Word Search Puzzles. Word Searches are also a good way to INTRODUCE or  REVIEW  important VOCABULARY.  Learning Workroom's website has a FREE Word Search on Sound Energy that you can download and print.

          Click Here:
          Go to: Free Worksheets

          Wednesday, February 16, 2011

          What Causes Sound?


          SOUND is a form of ENERGY.

          Sound is produced when energy causes VIBRATIONS (rapid back and forth motion).
          Energy is the source of all vibrations.

          • music (from CD, radio, stereo, etc.)
          • drum (store bought or home made: (old coffee or other round can covered with wrapping paper, etc.)
          • cheerios or paper clips
          • empty shoe box
          • rubber band (elastic)
          • notebook
          • pencil or pen


          • Play some music for the children.
          • Ask the children if they know what causes sound and how sound energy gets from the source (CD, radio, etc.) to our ears so that we can hear it.
          • Tell the children that today we are going to learn what causes sound. 

            • Have the students place some cheerios or small paper clips on the drum. Have them PREDICT what they think will happen when they tap on the drum. Then have them OBSERVE carefully as they tap on the drum several times. What did they hear? What did they see?

            • Place a rubber band (elastic) around an empty shoe box. Have the students PREDICT what they think will happen if they snap the rubber band. Have the students snap the band and OBSERVE what happens. What did they hear? What did they see?
            • What happens if they grasp the rubber band and stop the vibration; will the sound stop?
            • Have the students place two fingers on their larynx (voice box) and say "ahhh". What did they hear? What did they feel?

            • Discuss the fact that in all the activities sounds are produced when energy causes a medium (object) to VIBRATE (move back and forth quickly).
            • Students could see the results of the vibrations with the drum and rubber band and feel the vibrations when they touched their larynx. When you strike a drum or snap a rubber band, you are using energy. This energy causes the top of the drum and rubber band to vibrate  (move back and forth quickly). The vibrations cause the sound.  When the top of the drum or rubber band stops moving the sound stops.When they speak or sing their throat vibrates.    
            • Have children sketch pictures in their notebooks of today's activities.

            • Here is a video and song for kids about Vibrations from Learning Games for Kids.
            Click Here: Vibration Song

            clipart by www,


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