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SWBAT describe how different wave vibrations can change sound.

Big Idea

Students will be creating instruments that will allow them to observe, explore and investigate the patterns of sound waves (pitch and volume). They will plan out a design for their instrument and then create it using classroom materials.

Setting the Stage:

Next Generation Science Standards Connection:

Students will watch a video about the patterns of sound waves (vibrations), pitch and volume and then investigation these concepts further by creating an instrument with more than one pitch and volume. The students will be asked a scientific question to solve during their investigation. Through this investigation and observations they will gather evidence on the pattern of sound and how a sound's pitch and volume can change.  Using cause and effect the students will demonstrate an understanding of pitch and volume through trial and error and experimentation using a variety of tools. Students will record their observations and evidence in their Wave: Sound and Light 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 benefit from prior knowledge on taking notes during a read aloud. This skill will help with the note-taking that will happen during the read aloud in this lesson.

It is helpful if students understand that vibrations are responsible for the sounds we hear before exploring the pitch and volume of sound waves.

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. Anchor chart from lesson "Shhh! Did you hear that?"

2. Magic School Bus: In the Haunted House - Sound is Vibration

3. Variety of instruments

4. Tin cans, different size boxes, spoons, straws, rubber bands, empty paper towel rolls, construction paper, etc.

5. science vocabulary

6. Science Journal - I use blank paper in my journals so my students have more space and freedom to experiment with graphic organizers, illustrations, etc.


10 minutes

The purpose of the engagement activity is to help students make connections with what they know and can do. My goal is to mentally engage the students with a video and question.

To begin this lesson the class will be watching a video that introduce them to different vibrations, pitch and volume. In "Shhh! Did you hear that?" I created an anchor chart with my students.  On this chart we listed our wonderings about sound. The Science and Engineering Practice 1 has students planning and carrying out investigations to answer questions and solve problems in science.  It is so important to teach questioning across the subject areas as well as scaffold this instruction for our young learners.   In this lesson I will use one of their questions from our previous lesson to drive the learning.

"Why do sounds sound so different?" will drive the work we do today.

Research shows that our students are more likely to gain a deeper understanding of the science concepts when they are actively engaged in doing science. I believe that technology can allow children to experience this type of learning.  Before starting the investigation I show my students "The Magic School Bus: In the Haunted House - Sound is Vibration" video.

You just watched this video about sound.  How many of you noticed that they were studying sound waves? Great! Mrs. Frizzle said when the sound is low (I make my voice sound low) the sound waves move slow and when the sound is high (I make my voice sound really high) the sound waves move fast.  What else did you hear in the video?  Think for a minute.  Ok, go ahead and share that with your Turn and Talk Partner.

During this share I will listen for the students to use some of the language from the video (pitch, volume, sound waves).

 5, 4, 3, 2, 1....Great class! You have so many smart things to share.  I noticed you started to use some of the smart science vocabulary. I heard you use the word pitch and volume.  Pitch is when the sound changes by going really high like this (I make my voice go high) or low like this (I make my voice go really low).  She also used the word volume. Volume is when sound gets soft or loud.


30 minutes

During the exploration, my students work in partnerships or teams to explore ideas through hands-on activities.  The goal is to have students clarify their own understanding of the concepts and skills being taught while the teachers acts as a facilitator clarifying information through conferring and questioning.

Today we are going to answer one of the questions on our anchor chart from the other day; Why do sounds sound so different? As you are working I want you to think hard about this question and see what you can discover! Did you hear Mrs. Frizzle also mention instruments?  Well, today you are going to create an instrument! 

In this box I have a bunch of materials for you to use. You are going to try and create an instrument that can make a couple different sounds.  I want you to try to change the pitch and volume of your instrument. Remember, we already know that sound comes from vibrations or sound waves.  There are many ways to create those sound waves. 

Before we get started I want to show you some of the instruments that people use all the time. Listen to the different sounds each of these instruments make.  Each of these sounds are made from vibrations. 

In a tub by my chair I have the following instruments to share; drums, tambourine, mini guitar,  cymbals, castanets, maracas, harmonica, sticks, xylophone, etc. If you have students who are ELL or need language support it is important to to scaffold this activity by showing a sample of different instruments. 

Now, it is your turn to get started!  First you need to come up with a plan. Please head to your table and draw out a plan of what you are going to make.  Once you have a plan sketched in your science journal you may get all the supplies you need and get working.  Ok! Off you go!  

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 reteaching.  The students respond with, "I am going to use three rubber bands and a box and make a guitar." I am going to try it this way and if it doesn't work I am going to do something different." or  "I bang this box and then pull the rubber band and they vibrate and make this sound, listen." As I hear these comments I may say, "Great!  You found a way to make a sound.  Now think about that question; Why do sounds sound so different? Where you able to make more than one sound? What can you do to answer our question today? I move onto the next student to allow him time to ponder this question. Conferring is a great formative assessment tool will help guide the learning in my classroom. During the conferring I will continue to introduce that vocabulary of pitch and volume.


5 minutes

The students will explain their thinking and new learning while I clarify or restate the new learning as well as introduce new concepts and skills.

As we sit in our meeting area I start by saying, "Boys and girls did you think about our research question?  How many of you were able to come up with an answer to; "Why do sounds sound so different?" 

Please take a minute and share your thinking with your partner. As you are sharing I will be listening and writing what I hear on this chart.  I will be listening for words like sound, wave, vibration, pitch and volume. Okay! Turn and talk!

High level speaking and listening skills are important in preparing our students to be college and career ready.  I am always finding ways to allow for student discourse throughout the day. As the students are sharing their new learning I record what I hear on my anchor chart.  I want to be careful to include the key vocabulary (sound, vibrations, wave, matter, pitch, volume) to provide a scaffold between their language and the "science" language.


10 minutes

In this part of the lesson I will challenge my students to apply what they have learned. I will build upon their new understanding of concepts.

Today and everyday when you hear loud sounds, soft sounds, high sounds, and low sounds it is because you are hearing different vibration (or waves) that are sending signals to your brain telling you what you are hearing.

In the video you hear Mrs. Frizzle talk all about different types of sound waves. When the sound goes high the waves are moving really fast but when the sound is low the vibrations are moving really slow. That is called the pitch. I show the children the vocabulary word, pitch. You can change the pitch of sound and the volume of sound.  I show them them the word volume.  When the volume changes the sound gets softer or louder.  Can you change your pitch. What does it sound like when the the sound waves are moving really fast? You are right the sound gets really high like this. I model a high pitch for my students. How many of you have heard the volume get really loud or really quiet?  When the sound waves are big the volume is very loud but when the sound wave is small the sound becomes very quiet. When the vibrations stop so does the sound.  I add our new science vocabulary to our science bulletin board.

Have you ever heard a cricket in a field? That cricket is rubbing his legs together to create a vibration. That vibration makes a high pitch sound that sound likes a rattle.  Sound energy is made by vibrations or things that move back and forth.  A mosquito moves his wings back and forth very fast.  When the mosquito moves close to our ear we can hear the high pitch humming from the vibration of the wings.  Have you heard that before?

How do different sound waves help people and animals?

As I listen to my students I will hear comments like, "Sound waves help us talk and help animals talk." Or, "Different sound waves help make loud sounds. I like being loud!"


10 minutes

I have the children share their instrument with the class.  I will set up a Sound Museum in the classroom and invite other classes to come and hear the great instruments my students made!

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 be illustrating, labeling and writing to show their learning.

The Science and Engineering Practice 4 asks students to analyze data. At the K-2 level this involves students collecting, recording, and sharing observations. In this lesson the students will be recording information, thoughts and ideas in their science Journals. I send my students back to their science journals and ask them to write the answer to our big question.  Why do sounds sound so different? I will be looking for answers like, "The sound waves can go slow or fast and that makes the sound sound different." or "I learned that slow sound waves sound low and fast sound waves sound high."  This formative assessment will give me insight on the learning that has taken place.

Science Journal

Science Journal

Science Journal

Science Journal

Science Journal

Science Journal

Science Journal