Outreach Workshop: Sound Science
Explore the physics of sound as we experiment with waves and vibration and discover how sound travels through different substances.
Fees are determined by distance from the Museum:
- Within 25 miles: $340
- 26-50 miles: $370
- 51+ miles: $370 + $.58 per mile
- Each additional hour: $125
Michigan K-12 Science Standards
Plan and conduct investigations to provide evidence that vibrating materials can make sound and that sound can make materials vibrate.
Make observations to provide evidence that energy can be transferred from place to place by sound, light, heat, and electric currents.
Develop a model of waves to describe patterns in terms of amplitude and wavelength and that waves can cause objects to move.
Develop a model to describe that matter is made of particles too small to be seen.
Sounds Science Pre-visit Vocabulary
Absorption: To take in and make part of a whole.
Energy: Ability to change the temperature, motion, or makeup of an object.
Gas: A state of matter that fills the area it is in and whose molecules are spread apart.
Larynx: Also known as the voice box: 8 rings of cartilage that wrap around the top of the trachea, or windpipe.
Liquid: A state of matter that fills the container it is placed in and whose molecules are an intermediate distance apart.
Molecule: The smallest particle of any object that retains the signature of the object.
Pitch: The characteristic of sound that depends on the frequency of the sound waves. A short stick when struck will have a higher pitch, while a longer stick when struck will have a lower pitch.
Resonance: A sound that continues after it is made.
Solid: A state of matter made up of very closely packed atoms.
Trachea: The tube that connects your lungs to your mouth, also known as the windpipe.
Vibration: Movement in opposite directions.
Sounds Science Post-visit Activity
Post-visit activities provide your students with an opportunity to review workshop-presented concepts and introduce related subjects. Below you will find a classroom extension activity and a list of suggested resources for further exploration. We hope that you enjoyed our Outreach Hands-On Workshop and we look forward to visiting your students again!
Hands-on Activity: How Fast Does Sound Travel?
- A drumstick or pole (something to hit the object with)
- A large outdoor space
- Bring the class, large drum (or noise-maker) and stick outside on playground or field.
- Teacher or student volunteer should move about the length of a football field away 100-120 yards with the noise maker of choice.
- Strike the object. Make your movement dramatic to ensure that the group is seeing your movement AND hearing the vibration of the noise maker.
- Students should write down observations then share.
- Ask the following questions: would altitude affect the speed of sound? Would sound travel differently in day and night? Would sound travel change on a cold or hot day?
The speed of sound is affected by the temperature and density of air. Sound travels faster and is heard more clearly in dense and colder air because it contains more molecules. Higher altitudes have thinner air and fewer molecules per cubic centimeter.
Ask the students about their past experiences with the sound/sight phenomenon. What happens at a large sporting event (I think of watching a player hit and baseball then hearing the sound of bat on ball contact after the ball is in the air) or when a plane flies overhead?
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