Shhh! Did you hear that?

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SWBAT identify that sound is a form of energy that travels in waves.

Big Idea

Did you say waves? Let's explore sound waves using inquiry and our sense of hearing, sight, and touch.

Setting the Stage

Next Generation Science Standards Connection:

Students will conduct an investigation on sound and sound vibrations. The investigation will allow my students to gather evidence on how sounds are made with a rubber band.  Using cause and effect, the students will demonstrate an understanding of vibrations and how they are responsible for the sounds we hear. Students will record their observations and evidence in their scientific journals.

Classroom Structures:

In order to support a high level of student discourse within my science lessons I have assigned two different student partnerships.  Turn and Talk Partners are discourse partners that work together to share the deep thinking that happens throughout the day.  Workshop Partners are partners who are matched together for the purpose of working during our independent times.  In this lesson students will be engaged in both partnerships.

Prior Knowledge Needed:

Students will need to know that our 5 senses are tools that help us gather information and learn about the world around us.  We will be utilizing our senses for observation throughout the lesson.

Home-School Connection:

I LOVE involving parents in the learning in my classroom.  This parent letter is both an introduction to our next two units as well as a request for supplies. Many of the items used to teach this unit are recyclable items so I request parent help as well as help from my colleagues in collecting items.


1. Completed anchor chart from lesson "Listen, Listen, Listen!"

2. A new anchor chart labeled, "Sound Wonderings"

3.5 Senses Poster

4. Class set of rubber bands

5. Class set of shoe boxes or empty tissue boxes (you can do this activity in partnerships as well with half the amount of boxes and rubber bands)

6. Science Anecdotal Records

7. science vocabulary

8. Science Journal (Avery Labels 5163) - I use blank paper in my journals so my students have more space and freedom to experiment with graphic organizers, illustrations, etc. 

9. How are sounds made? (Avery Labels 8160) 


5 minutes

It is important to teach questioning across the subject areas as well as scaffold this instruction for our young learners.  One way to do this is to provide an avenue in which children feel safe to ask a variety of questions.  I am careful to validate student questioning and record their ideas. 

The other day we thought, observed and drew like scientists. Do you know why?  Well it is because we are scientists.   Scientists are people who observe the world around them. Boys and girls as I think back on our nature walk I think about all the great noticings you shared with me but now I have a lot of questions.  I wonder how did that crow make that short, loud sound? How do the leaves make a short, crunchy sound? Are any of you wondering something about sounds right now? Please share some of these questions with your "Turn and Talk Partner."

Classroom Video: Modeling

I allow the students to share their wonderings with each other and I listen in and write down some of the questions I hear.  I am careful to listen for questions like, "How are the sounds even made?" or "How did it make that sound?" I make a list of all their great questions and wonderings and post it up on our science bulletin board for reference.

Classroom Video: Turn and Talk


25 minutes

Once we have asked question it is time to narrow our investigation to one of the questions on our chart:  How are sounds made?  It is important to emphasize the question we are trying to solve. 

We have developed a list of great questions to investigate. Today we will start with one question. This one right here... I point to our anchor chart. How are sounds made? WOW! That is a really big question. How many of you are wondering the exact same thing? Almost all of the children respond in agreement. In a few minutes we are going to use our sense of sight (seeing), feeling (touch) and hearing to investigate the answer to that really big question.

We will not be using our sense of taste or smell today.  In this investigation you will be using one rubber band and one shoe box to make sound.  If you try an idea and it doesn't work, try another. Keep trying until you have made sound. As you are working I want you to keep in mind our big question: How are sounds made? Your job is to work with your workshop partner and learn all about making sounds. Once you have discovered a way to make a sound, use the magnifying glass to look even closer at the sound. Before sending them to work I model how to observe using a magnifying glass.

As my students work I walk around and confer with each group naming and noticing the smart thinking happening. Conferring is the process of listening and recording the work the student or students are doing and then compliment the work. As I listen, I research a teaching point and then work to provide clarification through questioning, modeling and re-teaching.  The students respond with, "No. That idea isn't working. Let's try it this way." or "Look. If you wrap the rubber band like this and pull it it makes a sound, listen." As I hear these comments I may say, "Great!  You found a way to make sound.  Now think about that big question; How are sounds made?  Can you see any clues to help answer this question? Students will respond by saying the rubber band is making the sound so I will respond by saying, "Use your magnifying glass and tell me how. Look very closely and tell me what you notice." I move onto the next partnership to allow time for the partners to ponder this question together. This formative assessment tool will help guide the learning in my classroom.

Classroom Video: Conferring

Mid-Work Teaching Point - If I notice that my students are having a hard time finding ways to make sound with the rubber band I may suggest that they try four different ways and find the one that works best.  I will suggest that if one way doesn't work, quickly move onto a different way.  If they still struggle I may ask them to take a tour of the room and observe what the other students are doing. 


10 minutes

I have the students meet me on the carpet and I ask if anyone discovered ways to make sounds.   I listen to the children share their thinking with their Turn and Talk Partnerships.  I listen for the students to say things like, "When the rubber band moved back and forth it made sounds." or "When I pulled the rubber band it made a sound."

After a minute of sharing I bring the children to attention and say, "Boys and girls today you said that when the rubber band moved you heard a sound. I will use one of the student examples and show the movement of the rubber band.  That movement you see is called a sound wave or vibration.  These vibrations and waves are what make sound happen. Sound comes from vibrations and these vibrations (or waves) travel to the nerves in our ears. When the vibrations hit the nerves it sends signals to our brains to tell us what we are hearing.  Listen: (I whistle) Did you hear that?  The sound waves or vibrations traveled to your brain and your brain told you that I was whistling. 

Put your finger on your throat and hum like this." I model humming and holding my finger to my throat.  I then ask them to try the same thing and watch their reactions. Did you feel something moving on your finger?  That is called vibrations or sound waves. They are making sound and you can feel the vibrations with your finger!

Classroom Video: Whole Group Share

I show the children the following science vocabulary: vibrations, sound waves and sound travel.  I tell the children that these words are very important for the work we will be doing in this unit. I hang the words under "Vocabulary" on our science bulletin board. 


5 minutes

Writing in first grade can be in the form of illustrations, labels, and words.  In science I have my students write in a journal during and/or after every science lesson. This type of writing should be explicitly taught in all subject areas.  With each writing I explicitly teach one thing that I want my students to do in their science writing and show them a model before sending them off to write. Today they will learn how to draw a diagram and add labels.

Boys and girls this is the word diagram. I hold up the vocabulary card. It is a science word for a drawing.  When drawing a diagram you don't need crayons only a pencil.  It is a simple picture that shows your work. You will need to include labels as well.  

Today your job is to use only a pencil to create a diagram in your science journal to show me how you learned about vibrations. The one thing that all diagrams need are labels so be sure to include a lot of labels to tell me what you are drawing.  


10 minutes

Writing in first grade can be in the form of illustrations, labels, and words.  In science I have my students write in a journal during and/or after every science lesson and use these journals to gain deeper insight on student learning. This type of writing must be explicitly taught in all subject areas.  With each writing I explicitly teach one thing that I want my students to do in their science writing and show them a model before sending them off to write. Today they will learn how add some writing to their illustrations.

"Boys and girls today and everyday when you hear sound what you are hearing are vibrations (or waves) that are sending signals to your brain telling you what you are hearing. These sound waves are everywhere!!" I want you to go back to your diagram from our rubber band experiment and I want you to write the answer to our big question today: How are sounds made?

In order to check for understanding, I send my students back to their science journals and ask them to take a few minutes to add the word sound wave or vibration to their diagram from our rubber band experiment. In their journals, I ask them to write the answer to our big question.  How are sound made? I will be looking for answers like, "I learned that sound comes from sound wave." or "I learned that vibrations make sound."