Does teaching sound feel intimidating? I’ll never forget the first time I taught it. I had no clue what sound activities I could do, and all I could think was that it would get NOISY! It was a pleasant surprise when I discovered that it was fun – even with the noise!
Teaching sound science is so much fun! We did a lot of hands-on activities and learned a lot about sound.
Feel the Beat (Drum Station)
Feel the Beat is a fun science experiment. Students place a bean or rice on a drum. Then, they beat the drum and take note of how the beans or rice reacts. Students try different beats like soft and hard. They also beat the drum in other places too.
Students learn that the louder the volume, the bigger the vibration. The vibration is also more significant where it first originated. Meaning, the vibration slowly gets smaller as it travels through other states of matter.
This sound activity can be a little noisy, but the students enjoy it! We borrowed drums from our music teacher and used one’s cubes from our place value blocks.
Have you ever been scared of loud noise? In this sound activity, students create a box to silent a noisy toy or phone.
This sound activity teaches students that sound vibrations are absorbed in different materials. Most studios have padding on the walls to avoid echoes when recording talk or music.
Students enjoyed creating these. We used recycled boxes, sponges from the dollar tree, bubble wrap, and tape. We tested my phone by playing the ringtone on loud. Use this Bouncy Balls website to measure the volume of sound. You can even use it to measure the volume in your classroom!
In this sound activity, students create a straw kazoo. Making a sound is not easy, but it’s rewarding when a student successfully makes a sound with their kazoo!
Creating a straw kazoo is a simple way to demonstrate that pitch changes when the length of the wind tunnel changes. When the wind tunnel is longer, the pitch becomes lower and vice versa.
Since we’re trying to eliminate the spread of germs, I made sure to give each one of my students three straws (so they could have several attempts) and keep them socially distanced. They also used their pair of scissors for cutting. Here’s a great demonstration/tutorial on how to create a straw kazoo. Straw Kazoo
In this sound activity, students must tell their friends a secret from across the room. They must create a device so that the two can communicate with one another.
Not only is this a fun way to demonstrate how sound can travel, but it’s also an excellent opportunity to teach your students about why most rumors are untrue!
Students enjoyed this activity, but it will not work if the whole classroom is noisy. I suggest having partners take turns sharing their secrets. You could even create a list of secrets for them to share.
Does sound travel underwater? In this experiment, students use rocks to clang underwater. You can use a sink or a big bowl of water for this.
This sound activity teaches students that sound waves travel through different mediums. Many students believe that sound only travels through the air, but they learn that sound travels quicker and more intensely underwater!
Students LOVED this activity because it incorporates water. With that, I suggest having a towel and paper towels available. I used rocks I found outside for this activity. It’s nothing fancy.
Students must create a stringed instrument that makes three different pitches.
Creating guitars is a lot of fun. We used tissue boxes and pasta boxes to make the body of the guitar. Then we used different-sized rubber bands for the strings. Finally, we used a cardboard tube to create the neck.
We had students create guitars in groups of three and four. Looking back, I wish I would have had them in groups of two or three. Four is too many! It’s also wise to have your students create a list of materials and agree on a design before letting them engineer the guitar.
This sound activity is so cool! What is a stethoscope, and how does it work? Students ponder this question before creating a stethoscope.
This sound activity is a lot of fun! We put students in groups of three. Then, they used a plastic funnel and a cardboard tube to create the stethoscope. Students learned that sound travels through tunnels quickly.
I’m pretty sure my students thought this was magic. To see their eyes as they heard a heartbeat was pure joy! When doing this activity, try to keep the classroom quiet so that other sounds do not interfere. Bouncy Balls website is helpful for this.
I love this sound activity because it’s peaceful. Students create an instrument that mimics the sound of rain.
For this sound activity, we used cardboard tubes, wire, and different types of lentils. If you want to make these legit, use poster tubes and chicken wire.
Students learn that the density of each object affects the pitch of each sound. Once they understand that, students can identify which lentil makes which sound.
Students enjoyed this activity. We created the large rain sticks during a STEM camp over the summer. Instead of chicken wire, we used nails and hammers. I was concerned about the safety of little ones before we used it, but we reviewed safety before they began creating. It was a lot easier than I had anticipated.
This sound activity makes a great segway to learning about weather.
Want a sound activity that students can take home? Students create artwork through vibrations. Simply color a sheet of paper with a washable marker. Then, use a piano tuner to splash water onto the painted canvas. The vibrations from the tuning fork create different-sized splashes. These water droplets make impressions on paper.
This sound activity creates a nice visual for students to see how the vibrations of a sound move. It helps them understand that we can’t see sound waves. It also teaches students that sound with a higher decibel creates violent splashes, while sound with lower decibels creates minor splashes.
I did this sound activity with my son, and he loved it! Make sure your students color the entire paper and don’t leave any white spots. The more ink you have, the more ink will move. It’s really neat!
Our brains are so brilliant. We can identify most sounds without seeing them! In this experiment, place random objects in opaque containers. Shake each container and have students guess what is in each container.
This activity proves that sound travels from the outer ear into the middle ear and turns into electrical signals interpreted by our brains. How amazing is that? Once we complete this sound activity, we label the parts of the ear from these FREE Sound Worksheets.
I love this activity, and I think my students did too. That’s because they were like little detectives listening intently. Instead of having students blurt their answers, give them a whiteboard and a dry erase marker to write their answers.
Pitching with Rulers
Does pitch change with size? In this science experiment, students learn about pitch differences when the size of the vibration changes. This is a simple experiment where students use plastic rulers and the edge of their desks. Students place the ruler at different points and strum it like a guitar. The pitch gets higher as the ruler is shortened.
In addition to these hands-on activities, we used the reading passages to learn about non-fiction text features. I love using these for those days when I don’t have time to do a hands-on activity. Plus, we were able to integrate these during our language arts time.
If you’re worried about plastic rulers breaking, I’d recommend trying wooden rulers instead. Fortunately for us, no rulers were harmed! This experiment is short, so if you’re running low on time, I’d do this!
This YouTube video is my favorite for explaining Sound. My students love this guy!
Once I realized how easy these sound activities were, I loved teaching sound. It’s such a fun unit! What other sound activities do you do with your students? Let me know in the comments.