March 1, 2023 | Cindy Kuperus
How is sound made?
How do our ears hear sound?
Can we see sound?
Can we feel sound?
What are vibrations?
These are some of the questions we have begun to answer in our study of sound. Students began their studies by making sounds using bottles, rubber bands, wooden sticks, and more. It was a cacophony of sound! Students found creative ways to describe the sounds, and learned about onomatopoeia along the way: clink, bang, tap, plink, snap, zzz, rattle. They recorded their work in their lab journals.
Next, students used tuning forks to hear, feel, and see vibrations and sound. First, students tapped the fork on the table and brought the fork to their ears and heard the sound.
After hearing sound, students tapped the fork again, and brought the tines of the fork to their hand to feel the vibrations caused by the tap.
Finally, students tapped the fork and brought the tines to the surface of a cup of water. Voila! Students “saw” the effect of the vibration as water began to move and even splatter out of the cup!
Students also tried to blow a strip of plastic held tightly between their thumbs and blowing air into a comb nestled between pieces of waxed paper. While trying these things, some students heard screeching or felt tickling.
Two Mondays ago, Calvin University (Grand Rapids, MI) brought some instruments to school and treated us to a concert (Thank you, Calvin University!). Musicians shared how each made sound with their instrument. We were delighted to hear the woodwinds, the brass, the percussion, and the strings make music. Several students even took their turn at conducting!
On Friday, we took the light rail to NJCU and watched the ways only THREE music virtuosos made music on 50 different instruments. Daniel’s mom, Natalie, arranged for students to ask questions of the three musicians after the concert – and we were even invited on stage! Thanks, Natalie!
Here we are in the theatre.
Here we are after the show. Michelle is making sound by tracing her wet finger around the rim of the glass. We also heard an instrument, the waterphone, or whalophone, shown here, in the second photo. (There is water inside the base of the instrument).
After playing at a nearby park, we took the light rail back to school.
Along with many further investigations in the classroom, in the Shared Space, students will build instruments that can play high and low pitches and produce loud and soft volumes. They will use the knowledge they received at their field trip.
We’ll be sure to invite you to see (and HEAR) the results!