Singing Glasses

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SWBAT explain that a vibrating glass of water can make sound.

Big Idea

Engage in a fun experiment and allow students to discover how rubbing a glass can make sound.

Lesson Overiew

Next Generation Science Standard Connection

This lesson connects to 1-PS4-1, because the students discover how rubbing the rim of a wine glass causes a vibration in the water. Rubbing the rim of the glass causes a vibration in the water that can be seen by the students, and this make the connection that vibrations can create sound. Giving students to opportunity to experiment and discover the sound makes this lesson unique and especially engaging. Anytime students discover concepts and learn to explain them learning is more meaningful. In addition, the students seem to retain the information for a longer time, because it is more relevant. I try to create these opportunities for discovery in most of my lessons.

Lesson Overivew

Some things that keep all of my lessons flowing smoothly are frequent transitions and using collaborative partners. Transitions allow the students to move often, and partners allow them to help each other. 

We begin every lesson in the lounge or carpet to activate their thinking and excite the class. Then we move to the desks in the middle of the room for the explore, explain, and elaborate sections of the lesson. Last, we close the lesson back in the lounge where the students present the information they discovered in the lesson.

Students work with their collaborative partner throughout the lesson. These are heterogeneous ability group partners, and the students do have assigned seats by their partner. The partners help each other during the lesson, and share their understanding during partner talk time. They are also allowed to help each other at any other point in the lesson. Sometimes students lose their place reading or need help spelling, and their partner is there to help them. This creates an environment in the classroom where students help each other, and I am more of a facilitator.


10 minutes

As the lesson begins the students are seated in the lounge and I have three things I try to accomplish. First, I want to see what they already know about sound. Second, I need to get the class excited about the lesson. Third, I want to provide them with an opportunity to communicate with each other to see what they know, so I can build upon this information during the lesson. Plus, students find learning from their peers much more meaningful.

So, I project the lesson image on the smart board, and have my material set up for the lesson. I have a glass and glass of water set out for each pair of students. Since, students are very observant they notice the glasses and water I have set out. This really gets them excited. This creates a level of energy that keeps my students persevering when the lesson gets complex.

Now I need to assess my students knowledge, so I say, "Tell your partner all the ways you know to create sound?" I use a fun ways to stop discussion. I am expecting them to say, "You can hit something." But, I am pretty confident that my students are not aware that rubbing a glass can create a sound. While the students are talking I write notes on the board to record their prior knowledge. I record this in a KWL chart. Then I say, "Will a volunteer please share their conversation? What are some ways to make a sound?" Here is a video that explains more about how I use the KWL chart to find out my students interests.

Next, I ask, "What do you want to know about sound, since this is our first lesson on sound." I allow my students to raise their hand and share what they want to learn, and I record it. I am really going to plan lessons to support their questions, because this makes learning meaningful to them. It also shows I care about my students feelings. At the end of this unit I will pull this KWL chart back up and we will talk about what they learned.

Now, I introduce sound with a PowerPoint, because this is a nice way to help students preview the content we are going to be covering. I narrate the entire slide show, since many of my students are not fluent readers.

Last, I share the plan for the lesson. I begin by saying, "Today we are going to do an experiment and see what happens when we rub the rim of a wine glass. After we discover what happens you are going to research why this happens. Now everyone go to your desk in the center of the room and be ready, so I can give you instructions." This keeps the students from playing with the wine glasses and water that I already have sitting on their desks.


15 minutes

Now the class is seated in the center of the room I begin with my instructions. I say, "Now you are going to wash your hands with soap and water first. This removes the oil from your skin. Be sure to not touch any other part of your body after you wash your hands. I have dish liquid on the counter for you to use. Then you are going to take the pad part of your finger and move it around the rim of the wine glass. After you discover what happens, go ahead and record this in your science journal. I have a sentence starter on the board if you need help. Be sure to not only record what you hear, but also record what you see in the water." 

I write on the board: When I rub my finger on the rim of a glass______________.

Before they begin I say, "I will dismiss you by group to go wash your hands. While you wait talk about what you think is going to happen." I do this to make sure there is not a mess at the sink, and I let the group I know will be the first to finish the task wash their hands last. This manages the time everyone finishes, so  all groups finish at about the same time. Then I walk around and monitors students exploring


10 minutes

At this point the students need to share across the table what they discovered. The pairs share their observations of the water and sound across the table. I say, "Now, I want you to tell the group across the table what you heard and saw." Then I walk around and listen. If a group is not talking I just say, "What happened? Look at the group across the table. Tell them what you saw and heard. You can even read your notes in your science journal to the other group." I anticipate the students say, "It makes a sound and the water vibrates."

This portion of the lesson may not seem essential, but it is. The students have to talk about the water vibrations and the sound in order to really remember that the vibrations make sound. I find that if the students don't talk about the content at their table, and engage in a whole group discussion they are unable to complete the elaborate and evaluation section of the lesson. 

Discourse is not only important for students to be able to learn in this lesson, but I am really teaching the class how to communicate. Communication is a life skill that is essential to the work force. It may seem unnecessary in the primary grades, but students tend to write as they speak. We are speaking a lot as we talk about sound in this section. Plus, students develop much more complex designs and ideas when they learn to build upon the ideas of their peers. 


15 minutes

My students now know that the water vibrates, and there is a sound produced when they rub the rim of the glass. But, we still have not discovered why. So, I allow them to use the computers to research why there is a sound. 

I say, "Each pair has a computer, and I want you to research why there is a sound. You may want to type in the search bar: why glasses sing. There is a nice video that shows up first on the search." Then I redirect the class to the directions on an anchor chart, and explain how we do a search.

Last, I walk around and monitor students working. I offer support in how to search, and I find myself reading text the the class.


10 minutes

As the lesson winds down I need to assess my students learning. To do this I provide them with an opportunity to present their new knowledge and communicate with their peers. So, I let two or three students explain why glasses make the sound when we rubbed the rim.  This is the information they researched on the internet in the elaborate section. The students listening give the presenters feedback about what they agree with or disagree with in the information presented. To document who's turn it is to present I keep a spreadsheet taped to the board, and I just check off who's turn it is. But, most first graders want to share their work everyday, so I allow anyone who wants to share to do so during snack or recess. 

Another thing I like to use to help my students meet my behavioral expectations is to use some positive behavior support. We all chant, "Criss cross apple sauce pockets on the floor, hands in your laps talking no more." Then I add, "Your eyes are on the speaker and you are thinking about what your peers are saying. Be ready to give them feedback."

The final thing I try to do is document my assessment of the students learning, and I find using a spreadsheet is the easiest way for me to do this. At the top I list the science standard, speaking, and peer feedback.  So, there are three columns to consider. I put a check or a zero in the box. The goal is 3/3 and I place the students score by their name on the left. This makes it easy for me to group students to reteach any skill area where they need to improve.