Wiggle it, Just a Little Bit!

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SWBAT describe ways that sound makes matter move.

Big Idea

Can sound waves make Oobleck dance? This investigation will allow children to experience being a scientist while observing and predicting what happens while Oobleck sits on a Subwoofer. What type of sound will make it move about?

Setting the Stage:

Extension Lesson:

This lesson is an extension lesson to Shakin' and a Movin'.  This lesson will provide the students will more support around how sound makes matter move.  This lesson also has the students engaging in opinion writing which is the perfect integration of the ELA Common Core Writing Standards.   

Next Generation Science Standards Connection:

Students will develop predictions about sound movement and then compare their predictions to what actually happens in our experiment. The students will investigate ways that sound can make solids and liquids move.  Using cause and effect the students will demonstrate an understanding of the sound waves ability to move various phases of matter. They 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 need a basic understanding of the phases of matter.

Students will need experience with writing an opinion piece. 


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 ask for help from parents and colleagues.



1. Mystery Bag with a cup of Oobleck

2. Sticky Notes

3. Anchor chart: each column is labeled with type of music; country, opera, audio test tones, pop music. 

4. Subwoofer

5. Music samples: country, opera, audio test tones (40, 50, 63Hz), pop music

6. Oobleck - 2 cups of corn starch to 1 cup of water

7. Towels, blankets & plastic wrap

8. Metal cookie sheet

9. Sound Loud, Soft, High, Low by Natalie M. Rosinsky

10. 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.


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 engaging prior knowledge and using a Mystery Bag.

Boys and girls the other day you learned that sound is a form of energy.  It is something we can feel.  You learned that as the sounds get louder the objects move about.  The louder the sound gets the more it causes stuff to rattle or move. For example, the louder you scream at the sugar the more it rattles. Today we are going to learn more about ways that sounds can make matter move. 

We will be making predictions before starting our experiments today. A prediction is a basic science process skill that we want our young students to perform.  I have a Mystery Bag with a cup of Oobleck inside. We will be exploring Oobleck and making predictions.

We are about to do a really neat experiment.  You will need to make some predictions today. A prediction is something people do all the time in math, reading, writing and in science. A prediction is when you use what you already know and clues to make a smart guess. Let's try it.  I am holding a Mystery Bag and in this bag there is something you will be working with today.  Here are the clues: 1. It sticks to your fingers. How many of you are already making guesses in your head?  Are you ready for clue number two? Great! Two - It is also a liquid. Let's take a minute to share some of your predictions. How many of you are using the clues and what you already know?  I allow the children to share some predictions.  Are you ready for the last two clues?  Three - You can play with it. Four - It can also be a solid.  Can you make a prediction or a guess what is in my Mystery Bag I allow the students to share answers with their Turn and Talk Partners before opening the bag.

WOW! You made some great predictions. You used your schema (what you already know) and the clues to make your predictions today.  Do you want to see what is in my bag?  Great! This is called Oobleck or Goop! We are going to study what type of sound waves make Oobleck vibrate.  Oobleck can be both a solid and liquid.

This activity is quite messy so I reserve our school stage where we can make big messes. I have the Oobleck already made for my students and I allow the children to explore the Oobleck.


20 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.

Are you ready to make some more predictions? Each of you have a sticky note and I would like for you to write your name on it. If you look up on my chart I have 4 columns. Each column is labeled with type of music; country, opera, audio test tones, pop music. I play a sample of each type of music in the Subwoofer and turn the volume up.   Boys and girls, let's all make some more prediction. Today we want to find out what type of music will make our matter vibrate and dance.  Which sound do you think will do that? Think about what you already know about sound waves. The children each put their sticky note in a column on our anchor chart.

For the exploration I have a Subwoofer wrapped in plastic wrap and a thin metal cookie sheet placed on top of the Subwoofer speaker. I also have an app of an audio test tone (it is recommended to use 40 Hz, 50 Hz, and 63 Hz, with high volume), music and food coloring (optional). 

W pour the Oobleck onto the thin metal cookie sheet and begin our exploration. We play the country music and observe the Oobleck shake.  Next we play the opera music and observe the Oobleck lay still. We play the pop music and observe the Oobleck shake and vibrate and then we play the test tones. The Oobleck begins to shake and move and then it begins to dance. We add food coloring: blue, red, yellow.  My students begin to yell, "The colors are mixing. It is dancing!"  We observe the colors mix as the Oobleck dances about.


15 minutes

I have the students join me on the carpet to explain their new understandings. What did you observe?   As they are sharing I wander the group to listen in the conversations. I want to listen for both new understandings and misconceptions.  When we rejoin I share out all the smart thinking I heard.

Boys and girls today you observed sound making matter vibrate.  As you were sharing I heard you all talking about the Oobleck. You learned that it is both a solid and liquid and you noticed that some music just made the liquid vibrate while other sounds make the solid part of the Oobleck dance about.   

Now you know that sound can make matter vibrate!  You learned that sound is a form of energy.   Today you noticed that all the sounds were loud but not all of them made the Oobleck dance about. The pitch and the beats in the music made large vibrations.  When studying sound and vibrations it is so important that we understand pitch and volume.  Both pitch and volume play a part in making matter vibrate.


10 minutes

In this part of the lesson I challenge my students to apply what they have learned and build upon their new understanding of concepts through a read aloud.  I will guide my students to see the link between the dancing Oobleck and the volume and vibrations.

I read the book Sound: Loud, Soft, High, Low by Natalie M. Rosinsky.

Boys and girls, you have learned that sound is created through vibrations and when the pitch changes the vibration changes. Think about what you have learned about vibrations, pitch, and volume.  Why do you think the Oobleck danced?  Turn and talk and share your thinking with your partner.


10 minutes

I have my students join me in our meeting area and I conclude by saying, "Boys and girls you have learned a bunch of different ways that sound can make matter move."

In order to check for understanding, I ask my students to answer our question today.   I want you to think for a minute and see if you can answer our question today.  How did the sound waves make the Oobleck move? Please share with your turn and talk partner. After a brief discussion I ask my students to record their new learning in their science journals.  I remind my students to use words like pitch, volume and vibrations in their journals.

Boys and girls will you take a minute to write ways that sound can make matter move in your science journal? Great! Off you go!


25 minutes
As an extension lesson I plan to integrate the ELA Common Core writing standards. The ELA Common Core asks that our students write opinion pieces that state an opinion and supply a reason for the opinion.  This is a great way for students to apply what they know about sound waves, vibrations, volume and pitch.

The senior center doesn't like music that causes a lot of vibrations at their weekly dances. Can you write the senior center a letter telling them what type of music would be the best for low vibrations and can you tell them why? 

After the letters are finished we meet at the carpet. I have my students share their writing with the class. As the children are sharing I take notes on who used some of the vocabulary words that we have learned in this unit: sound waves, vibrations, pitch, volume.

During the writer's workshop my students are taking this letter through the publishing process and are sharing it during a publishing party. This writing piece will be used to assess whether or not my students are able to determine between low and high vibrations and the amount of moving that happens with each vibration.