Good, Good, Good Vibrations!

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SWBAT explain that vibrating material can make sound.

Big Idea

Although the Beach Boys won't be making an appearance, your students will be strumming their guitars as they explore how vibrating bands can make noise.

Setting the Stage

1 minutes

The students will spend the day building a string guitar and then testing the string to obtain different sounds and vibrations.  The students will discuss their findings and then elaborate on their thinking with an entry in their science notebooks.   

Our district has not moved toward implementation of the NGSS yet.  However, sound waves is a concept that is in our current curriculum.  I am pushing my students toward the full NGSS expectations of both light and sound waves.  Since it is above what the district requires, I am can push the students to go beyond the expectations.  Below is the district Grade Expectations for this unit.

Grade Expectations:

S1-2:7 Students demonstrate their ability to EXPLAIN DATA by…
  • Developing a reasonable explanation based upon observations (e.g., I found out…).
S1-2:29 Students demonstrate their understanding of Sound Energy by…
  • Investigating different objects, observing and describing the vibrations of those objects and the sounds that are made.

Science Concepts:

      a. Sound is caused by vibrating objects.


10 minutes

I start the class by teaching the students a new song about vibrations.  This is a song that we will revisit throughout the unit.  The song was written by Sue Bishop, Erika Olvey, and Annie Grammer.

The song is to the tune of London Bridges.  

"I want to teach you a new song today.  It has a familiar tune and you will recognize it right away.  The tune is London Bridges.  Let's take a look at the words together and then we will sing it."

In this song the words vibration, pitch, and volume are mentioned.  I will take time at the end of class to define these words and add them to our vocabulary wall.  



20 minutes

Advanced Preparation:  The students will need to work in teams to make string guitars.  You will want enough tissue boxes and rubber bands to allow for the construction of these.  

"Today you are going to to work with a partner and build a tissue box guitar.  You will need one tissue box and three rubber bands.  You will put together the guitar by placing the three bands around the box."

I model this so that the students can quickly build their own guitars.

"Once you have your guitar built, you will be asked to answer the questions that are on Tissue Box Guitars recording sheet.  Although you are working in teams, I want each of you to fill out your own sheet."

This task will allow them to explore and start to develop their own ideas about vibrations.  I will use the science circle discussion to solidify their thinking.  As the students are working, I will circulate and discuss what they are observing and/or to ask them questions about what is going on.  


10 minutes

The students will gather in a circle on the carpet for our science circle discussion.  The goal of this discussion is to get the students to discuss their observations and findings.  I want to discuss the concept of the band moving back and forth and that sound it made when that happens.  I also want to discuss who the box itself was vibrating as well.

"I would like you to gather on the carpet for science circle.  I want you to bring your recording sheets with you.  What happened when you gently pulled the band on the box and it let it go?  What did you hear?  Was the sound different when the band was pulled tighter.  What did you see when the the band was let go?"

I will end the discussion with one last question:  What was the change you observed?  You are looking for the idea that a sound was made when the rubber band moved back and forth.  Vibrations were turned into sound and the box moved too.


5 minutes

"I want to define the words vibration, pitch, and volume.  We discussed vibration today. Who can give me the definition for that?" 

I will help them come up with the definitions of pitch and volume.  

To end today's lesson, I play the following video for the students.

"I want you to watch this video.  It basically talks about our exploration today and focuses on the concept of vibrations."

I am choosing this video to reinforce the concepts from today's task.  This will lead into their exit ticket in the next section.


5 minutes

"I would like you to open up your science notebook and set it up for today's entry.  What do you think the focus for today was?  Once you have it set up, I want you to to draw a picture of your learning today and then use your words to describe what happened.  I am going to ask that you use the words sound and vibration in your writing."

"Once you are done, I want you to use the Science Journal Scoring Rubric  to score your entry."

The student responses should contain the idea that the bands are pulled to create a vibration.  The vibrations are creating sound.  The students identify that the bands are moving back and forth by using a magnifying glass to see the movement up close.

After the students have finished their entries, I have one last quick group discussion about how the noise was created.  This way the students finish the lesson hearing about the idea of vibrations and waves.