Singing Bottles

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SWBAT explain how bottles can make different sounds.

Big Idea

Allow students opportunities to discover sound and experiment with sound to help student understand how sound travels.

Lesson Overview

10 minutes

Next Generation Science Standard Connection 

This lesson connects to 1-PS4-1, because the students experiment with sound using bottles. In previous lessons I have read about sounds, created experiments, planned experiments, and now I am allowing the students to experiment with sound and explore sound on their own. I do provide the question: How can you make sound with a bottle? Why? I find a question provides the class with a direction to explore and discover sound. Using a bottle brings some of my students prior knowledge to the lesson, since many of them have seen or drank out of a bottle.

So, the students create sound at their desks after I give each pair three bottles, and they record their observations. Next, they share their knowledge with the class. Then they engage in an experiment to see the relationship between the amount of water in a bottle and the sound created by blowing in the bottle. Last, we meet in the lounge and the students share what they discovered in the experiment, and they explain why this relationship occurs.

Lesson Overview

I try to keep my transitions and heterogeneous ability group partners the same in every lesson. Transitions allow students to get up and move around, and partners help each other. By providing a helper to students who need it everyone can participate in the lesson. 

As far as transitions go we begin the lesson in the lounge, because it's a nice place to get the class excited about learning. Then we move to the desks in the center of the room for the explore, explain, and elaborate section. Last, the lesson closes back in the lounge. 




10 minutes

As the lesson begins I try to excite the class, get them excited, and I assess what they remember about sound. So, I project the lesson image on the board to get the class curious and excited about the lesson. Then I ask the students to turn and tell their partner how sound is created. I expect them to say, "Sound is created by vibrations." Then I ask the class to turn and talk to their partner about, "How does sound travel?" Then I listen and expect the students to say, "Sound travels by vibrations in the air." I am very confident the students understand this, because I have done several lessons on sound. The foundation has been laid in previous lesson, and this lesson is really about the students investigating and discovering the relationship between sound, and the amount of air in a bottle.

Now, it is time to inform the class about the plan for the lesson, because students seem to follow through with the lesson easier when they know what to expect. So, I say, "We are going to experiment with bottles and create sound. Then we will compare the sounds created when the amount of water in the bottle changes."


15 minutes

In this section the students are going to explore how to make their bottle make sound. I hope they discover that tapping the bottle and blowing in the bottle both make the bottle create a sound.

I say, "I am going to give you three bottles, and you can use anything at your desk to create sound." Now, I know they have pencils at their desks, and I sure they will hit the bottle to create sound. But, I am not sure if anyone will think about blowing in the bottle. I only need one students to actually do it, and the others will try it as well when they hear the sound. So, I am giving the class freedom to explore, and hoping they arrive at what I want. I want them to create sound by blowing in the bottle and by tapping it.  Giving the class this freedom: exploring, also allows them to learn from each other. Then I walk around and observe the students exploring. 

Next, I ask the students to get out their science journal and record: student work the two ways you can make sound with a bottle. Then I ask them to add why they think the bottle makes sound. I anticipate the class to record that the sound is made by the vibrations of air in the bottle. I have laid the foundation for this discovery by allowing students to read and engage in discovery in prior lessons.



10 minutes

At this point I engage the class in a chance to practice their communication skills, and an opportunity to explain the understanding at their table. This involves every student in talking about their observations. It also teaches students to share what they know, and they learn to build upon the ideas of their peers. 

First, I say, "Turn and tell your shoulder partner what you learned about how you can create sound using a bottle." This engages every student in reflecting upon their notes. If somebody is not participating I just say, "Read your notes to your partner. What did you find out? How can you make sound?" Then most students can verbalize what they did, and I write what they say if I am working with a student who cannot write.  Then the student can copy down what I heard them say, but most of the time their partner has already helped them.

Next, I ask, "Will you please tell the group across the table what you did and what you observed." This not only engages the class in discourse, but each shy children are more likely to participate when they are working at their desk. They are not put on the spot in front of the class.

Last, I say, "Will a student please volunteer and share what they did, and then share what happened." Now, each child has talked about what happened, and they have heard what their peers learned. 


15 minutes

Now we are going to deepen my students understanding of sound by allowing them to add water to their bottle and blow in them. They are going to make a conclusion about the sound based on the amount of water in the bottle. So, I am hoping they discover that the more the air in the bottle the lower the pitch. 

I begin by saying, "Class I am giving you three bottles. I want you to fill each with a different amount of water. Then I want you to determine the relationship between the pitch of the sound you can create by blowing in the bottle. You will record in your science journal: the more water in the bottle the ___ the pitch, and the less water the ____ the pitch." I write the two sentences on the board: model, so my students have a model. Not everyone in my class can read and write independently, and giving them a model allows everyone to participate. Here is n example of exemplar student work. The students may also have trouble making the sound, so I model it for them: teacher model.


10 minutes

As I arrive at the final section of the lesson I plan to assess the students, allow them to explain their experiment, and give students an opportunity to evaluate their peers work. I use a simple spreadsheet to assess the students. They explain their experiment during a presentation, and after each presentation the students listening need to give the presenter verbal feedback.

I begin this section by asking my students to chant with me, "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 prepared to give them peer feedback." This focuses the class on what I want them to do, so I don't have to verbally correct the students.

Then I ask three students to stand in front of the group and explain their experiment. I use a spreadsheet that has all my students names down the left and I just check each child off as they present. This makes sure everyone gets the same numbers of opportunities to present. So, after each presentation I expect the students listening to give their peers feedback. Now, this started with me modeling feedback for a month or so in August. Now, we are in February and my students are giving appropriate feedback to their peers. I say, "Please tell them something you agree with, disagree with, or add to their explanation."

Last, I assess the students using a spreadsheet on their explanation of their experiment, how well they speak and listen, and their peer evaluation. At the top of the columns I put 1-PS4-1, speaking and listening, and peer evaluation. Usually, I put a check or a 1 in the area where the students show mastery, and I put a 0 or nothing where they need work.