Echolocation Class Activities
Basics of Instruments Unit
Dangerous Decibels Program
- Intensity Level Activity
Students use sound level meters to investigate how sound level drops off with distance. 20- 25 minutes.
- Pre/Post Conceptual Test for Sound and Music
Multiple-choice test designed to measure learning from the Sound and Music lesson.
- Sound and Wave Basics
This is a small homework assignment working with the PhET simulation on sound and waves.
This lesson follows up on the Sound and Wave Basics Homework, introduces the terminology used to describe waves, investigates what factors impact wave speed, demonstrates interference, and provides multiple ways to think about natural frequency and resonance.
- Speed of Sound
20–30 minute set of slides with peer instruction on the topic of the speed of waves on strings and how helium and sulfur hexafluoride affect the voice. Brings back the concept of resonance.
- Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People’s Ears
This activity integrates literature into a science lesson about how vibrations cause sound.
- How to Wear Earplugs
5 minute video demonstrating the proper way to roll and fit foam earplugs.
- Loud Sounds Book Marks
Two sided full color bookmarks show sound level for certain sounds and time limits for different levels.
- Doppler Effect and Sonic Booms
Combination of problems and conceptual ideas related to the Doppler Effect and Sonic Booms including Mach number calculations. Introduction to Standing Waves follows.
- Giant Acoustics Word Search
36 word word search uses acoustics terms found in the physical science lessons. Minimum of 2 hours to complete.
- Graphing Waves and Ultrasound
This set of slides lasts 20 minutes and reviews traveling wave pulses and then introduces the idea of translating from position graphs to history graphs. Medical applications of sound waves are presented next and then a brief introduction to electromagnetic waves and how they relate to sound. Used with CT focused Ultrasound article.
This power point includes more than an hour of slides which have a section on speech intelligibility, acoustician careers, follow up to the Waves and Harmonics lab and the Sound rather than Sight activity found above.
- Middle School Sound Activities
An index of materials that have been tested and reviewed for use with middle school students
- Simple Harmonic Motion
PowerPoint slides for an interactive lesson on simple harmonic motion including peer instruction and in class practice problems. Approximately 70 minutes of material over restoring force, period and frequency of springs and pendula, equations of motion for SHM and conservation of energy.
- Simple Harmonic Motion Lab
Students investigate a spring, a pendulum and pasta w/raisins or marshmallows to determine if the period depends on length, amplitude and mass for each oscillator. Finally students are asked to determine if the pasta w/ raisins or marshmallows is more like a spring or pendulum (the answer is not what they expect!)
- Sound Lab
Two sound labs using both LabPro and Xplorer GLX. These two lessons each use a sound probe to investigate how wave patterns from different sounds look, including their voices and their straw instruments.
- Peer-Instruction Type Questions for Sound
Selection of clicker questions related to above sound activities
- Spring into Another World
This lab is by Hewitt and Baird’s Conceptual Physics Laboratory Manual. It uses the PhET simulation Masses and Springs to investigate Hooke’s Law. I used it and Simple Harmonic Motion together in one lab period.
- Sound Waves
Students use the Sound simulation from the PhET Interactive Simulations to understand how different sounds are modeled, described and produced. They also design ways to determine the speed, frequency, period and wavelength of a sound.
- Standing Waves Lab
Standing waves are studied experimentally with vibrators and a string. Students are tasked with figuring out a method for determining the density of their string and then comparing results with the rest of the class. At the end they write up a plan for a more ideal experiment to determine the mass density of their string.
- Waves and Harmonics Lab
This lab uses Fourier: Making Waves PhET simulation to investigate auditory perception of various combinations of harmonics as well as how waves add.
- Anatomy of a Wave
Students take on the roles of reporters and artists to draw and describe the nature of transverse waves.
- Doppler Effect
Students experience the Doppler effect through videos, discussion, and teacher demonstrations.
- Tuning Fork Discovery with Study of the Science of Sound
Students examine a brief history of the discovery of how sound works and then use tuning forks to experiment with how sound works.
- Wave Basics
Students explore the PhET Interactive Simulation “Wave on a String” focusing on amplitude and frequency as well as wave travel.
- Teacher Activity Kit Workshop
Powerpoint slides that outline the AAPT Teacher Activity Kit Workshop presented in Philadelphia July 28, 2012.
The resources marked with a gold star are considered complete hands-on, minds-on activities ready for teacher use. The activity format has been teacher-tested. Care has been taken to provide content explanations for the teacher or interested gifted student who wants to explore further. You will find that all gold star activities:
are practical and easy to use
have been classroom tested
are supported by rich content
have been reviewed by K-12 teachers
have been reviewed by science content specialists
have been reviewed by education researchers
have been aligned with national science standards
For your convenience activities are organized into detailed, easy-to-follow sections found below with individual sections designated.
science topics that are covered
science process skills that are used
time required for each stage of the activity:
advance preparation for teacher (does not include gathering supplies),
set-up before class,
doing the activity with students, and
clean-up after the activity
materials supplies list
detailed step-by-step activity procedure instructions
hints for introducing the activity in a manner that facilitates inquiry process, speculation, independent thinking, and discovery
hints to guide class discussion and encourage student analysis and conclusion building
explanations of in-depth scientific content for teachers and interested students
optional extensions and cross curricular connections to disciplines, such as math or music, for teachers who enjoy extending lessons and for those who integrate disciplines throughout their lessons