Sounds All Around

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SWBAT use recyclable items to create a musical instrument that produces a sound.

Big Idea

After learning about sound energy, students will use the the engineering design process to create a musical instrument that produces sound.

Setting the Stage

National Science Teaching Standards:

“Position and Motion of Objects”

 Sound is produced by vibrating objects. The pitch of the sound can be varied by changing the speed of the vibration. In this lesson, students are engaged in the engineering design process. They collaborate in groups to create a musical instrument by putting recyclable items together. This lesson is taught because, in Tennessee, students are required to learn about sound as well as explain how sound is made.

Science and Engineering Practice: 

SP 3 addresses planning and carrying out an investigation. In K-2, it is imperative that students have the opportunity to plan and carry out investigations, so they understand the role that scientists play in testing theories.  This lesson is important because students work together to produce sounds. They learn that items must vibrate in order to make a sound. Students are given the opportunity to create musical instruments from recyclable items using the engineering design process.

SP 8 addresses obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information in K–2. Students communicate information with others in oral and written form to discuss scientific ideas.  In this lesson, groups communicate with each other about how to place items together that produce sound. The groups create and design musical instruments from recyclable items.

Junior Scientists:

In my class, my students are called Junior Scientists. They wear lab jackets they created early in the school year to be worn during experiments. I call them junior scientists to encourage them to major in Science and Math related careers. I want them to develop a love for Science and Math. Also, we sing "It Is Science Time" or "I Got A Feeling Song" before each lesson.






10 minutes

At their desks, students sing a song at the opening of each science lesson.  This song motivates and engages my Junior Scientists at the beginning of each science lesson. During science lessons, I call my students scientists to empower them and encourage them to become dreamers and doers.

“I can” statement

I call on a student to read our "I Can" statement for the day. While using an over-sized microphone, a scientist says, "I can create musical instruments from recyclable items." The "I Can" statement helps students take ownership of the lesson as they put standards into context. The other students praise the student that reads the "I Can" statement by clapping.  I encourage students to give each other praise to boost their self-esteem.

While students are sitting at their desks, I begin the lesson by displaying the attached PowerPoint presentation which explains safety issues, rules, and guidelines before the investigation: I remind students that they must work collectively to get the task done while considering others' feelings. I tell the groups to inform me when they use the rubber bands. The bead wire is pointy, so the group members must also notify me when ready.

Next, I discuss vocabulary words with the students (sounds, pitch, vibration, sound waves, and musical instruments). I show the students where Louisiana is located on a map and I have the students listen to music from Louisiana. They stand to express how they feel as they listen. I provide some students with a mask to wear and I inform them that in New Orleans, masks sometimes are worn during celebrations.

I ask the following facilitation questions: 1. What did you hear as you listened to the music? 2. Why were you able to hear the sounds? 3. How were you able to hear? 4. What kind of instruments did you hear? How did you feel when listening to the music?

I, then, show the students where Cozumel, Mexico is located.  We look at various instruments made in Cozumel, Mexico and determine which ones you can strum, beat, shake, or blow.  Students are provided with cards to hold up with strum, beat, shake, or blow. I give the students an opportunity to test the hand-made instruments from Cozumel, Mexico.

I discuss New Orleans, Louisiana and Cozumel, Mexico to bring in real- world application for my students. It is imperative that students are exposed to various places around the world to make their learning more relevant while learning how to appreciate and value other places around the globe.




25 minutes

My students proceed to their group tables when I say "We Are On The Move" and they stand and sing, We Are On The Move. This routine helps my students move to their table with very few distractions. This also helps my auditory learners who enjoy singing as well as my kinesthetic learners who enjoy moving.  

I assign students to a group and they self-select their group roles - recorder, leader, reporter, and materials handler. I place the items for creating the instrument on each group's table. While I permit the students to complete the attached lab sheet, I have the students create questions about the items, draw a sketch about what they can create with the items,  test it, and a draw conclusion. I ask the following facilitation questions: 1. What can you create with the items? 2. How will you create it? 3. Why did you form it that way? 4. Does it produce a sound? 5. How is the pitch?  Why? 6. Can you change the pitch? How?

Note: Teacher need the following items for instruments at each table-shoe box and rubber bands (Guitar), 2 water bottles and beads (Maracas), 10 jingle bells, 10 short pieces of bead wire, hole puncher, and two paper plates (Tambourine); art center for decorating (i.e. markers, stickers, and crayons).


Sound All Around-Student Work



25 minutes

I call the group members to a circle for a group reflection. I ask them the following questions: Did your instrument work, How did you get it to work, or Would you modify or change something.  Then, I permit group members to perform as a band using their instruments.

After the students perform, I inform the students that energy is the sound they hear, and sound is made when things vibrate or move back and forth, very fast.  We can hear sounds as a sound waves which moves through the ear canal and strike the ear drums. I discuss this with the students to make sure they understand how sounds are made.




10 minutes

Once the investigation is completed, students complete an exit ticket.  I take up the exit tickets so I can evaluate what the students wrote. The assessment helps guide my discussion with the students for the next lesson.

Sound Exit Ticket-Student Work