I Hear That!

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SWBAT identify sounds that different animals make by covering their eyes and listening to a CD (tape).

Big Idea

Young children do not often come equipped and ready to listen well in order to gain insight into topics. This lesson encourages them to listen carefully and make connections between what they hear and things they already know.


5 minutes

To introduce this lesson, we listen to different sounds on a wav doc and identify what we think the sounds are from (see resources for this section). 

I front-load the vocabulary for this lesson after I reveal what actually made the sounds on the recording. 


hear - the ability to interpret sounds

sound - vibrations interpreted by the brain into an organized way that we can recognize...a dog bark

vibration - waves in the air that are interpreted by the brain as sound

nerve - picks up vibrations and takes to brain for interpretation

interpret - understanding

ear drum - part of the ear that receives the vibrations

bone - part of the skull that protects the inside of the ear

I tell them what these words mean and that we will be talking about them later.




10 minutes

I ask the kids to share things that they hear everyday. This section takes a little longer than usual because I help them mentally walk through a normal day. I ask them what sounds they hear at home in the morning, what they hear coming to school, what sounds are at school, and what they hear in the lunch room. It never fails that the kids realize that they go through the day never really paying attention to what they hear. It seems to be one of the most ignored senses.

We create a target chart for "hear" and I record what the kids suggest they hear throughout the day. I write the word "hear" in the center of a piece of chart paper. I draw a circle around the word. I then ask the kids to provide words of things they can hear and I record them around the "hear" circle. I draw a large circle around all the words they had me write. Because there are so many possibilities, I take suggestions and list them as long as time permits. I use a can with name sticks in it to choose kids at random to provide one suggestion each to add to the circle map. I attempt to call on each student once within the allotted time.

I follow this procedure so they are ready to go when called on:

1)Pose question

2)Provide wait time

3) Share idea with talking partner (partners are arranged by me in advance)

4) Be ready to share your idea when called on (later in the year, second quarter, I ask the kids to share what their PARTNER said. This supports the goals of listening and speaking standards found in the language arts Common Core curriculum).


10 minutes

I take the kids on a nature walk outside. We stop at key locations (trees, playground, open classroom door, cafeteria) and listen carefully to the surroundings and describe what we hear.

The walk is approximately 5 minutes. We stay close to the classroom.

Once we return to the classroom, I ask them what headings they would list for a branch map. If they struggle, I provide prompts to get the first two. They usually catch on after that. I have them do this because THEY are the explorers here and I want them to decide where we were that they heard sounds that stood out.

We end up with:

cafeteria    outside/nature   classroom   playground

I have them tell me what they heard in each area. I again use the name stick can to call on kids randomly.


5 minutes

I use a diagram of the human ear to show the kids how their sense of hearing works. I display the ear diagram on my ActivBoard (SmartBoard). When I don't have access to media of that type, I either make a poster at an office supply store or use a transparency on an overhead projector.

I use key terms found in the Engage section of this lesson while explaining the concept to the kids, but I do not expect them to use it back. I just want them to have a basic understanding of how hearing in mammals works.

I label the diagram with the correct parts on the poster-sized chart that I hang up or the ActivBoard or SmartBoard.

As I label the parts on the diagram, I explain to them that scientists label their diagrams as they discover new information so they can keep it organized and make sense of it later.

I tell them that they will be filling in their own ear diagram soon and placing it in their own science journal. This really gets their attention.


5 minutes

I ask the kids how hearing can help us make strong observations as scientists. I ask them if they think we will always be able to use our sense of hearing when we are observing during experiments. I provide examples like observing worms, dogs, fish, trees, dirt, birds and see if they can distinguish when we would and would not use our sense of hearing.

I ask them these questions to bring this experience all back to science! Very soon they will be making observations and taking notes on what they experience. They must understand that all of there senses might come into play from time to time.


5 minutes

I call up the table captains first to collect the fill-in diagrams. I then dismiss one table at a time to their seats to complete the diagram.

I have them fill in a copy of an ear diagram that is missing three labels that I want them to focus on. I have them write the correct labels on the blank lines on the diagram.

They copy the words as best as they can from my poster sized diagram that we filled in earlier.

The diagram is glued into the students’ science notebooks once they complete it.

Even though this is lesson is taught at the beginning of the year, I have them complete the diagram for a few different reasons:

  • hand eye coordination
  • writing skills
  • making connections between content area (science and literacy)
  • most important - by the end of the year, they will be able to read these words on their own and they deserve a record of experiences that they have had in kinder that they can refer back to in the future.


10 minutes

I roam the room to check for accuracy of the diagrams in the science journals. I also randomly pick students (name stick can) to explain to me how they hear things and why it is important to listen carefully while making observations.

I expect the students to give me a VERY basic understanding of what they have learned. One student told me that keys make a noise and the eardrum tells the nerve. The nerve tells the brain and the brain tells her that she heard keys...Bravo little kindergartener!!

I ask a few of them to give examples of something they might hear while observing something. One student told me that if we were studying fish, we might here them jump in the water. Perfect!

On occasion, a young child grasps very little of this lesson. Don't worry! Continue to revisit this information throughout observations that require listening as a skill. You will surprised how quickly they pick it up in context!