Nature of Sound – Background

If a tree falls in the forest, a bird sings, or a beaver slaps its tail, does it make a sound if no one is there to hear it? To think about this riddle, we need to understand the nature of sound – what it is and how we perceive it. Sound is important in our lives and the lives of other animals. Our sense of hearing helps us learn about and monitor our surroundings. And for animals that chirp, croak, bark, or talk, sound provides a highly effective means of communication.

Sound is what we hear when something is vibrating. Pluck a rubber band or a guitar string, and we hear a sound. How does the sound reach our ears? As the string vibrates, oscillating rapidly back and forth, it pushes or compresses the air Continue reading Nature of Sound – Background

Nature of Sound – Activities


FOCUS: Sound is what we hear when something is vibrating. The vibrating object – whether a violin string, a singing bird, or a gurgling brook – creates a sound wave that travels to our ears, where we interpret its meaning. Sound waves need a medium like air, water, or a solid through which to move; they cannot pass through a vacuum. The Earth’s atmosphere, hydrosphere, and geosphere provide a way for sounds to travel. Many animals depend on sound to learn about their surroundings and to communicate with others of their kind.

Introduction: Ask the children to name some different sounds they hear on the way to school.

PUPPET SHOW “Calls of the Wild”

Objective: To learn how different animals hear and make sounds, and how sounds are important in their lives. Continue reading Nature of Sound – Activities

Nature of Sound – Puppet Show

Calls of the Wild

Characters: Harry Hare, Chelsea Chickadee, Woodrow Woodpecker, Jenny Jay, Oliver Owl.

Props: cup of water and a straw; signs for audience participation: “chick-a-dee, dee, dee,” “whshhhhh,” “jay-jay-jay.”

Directions: Ahead of time, assign people in the audience a sound to make when their sign appears. It may be helpful to have one person to do sound effects and hold up the signs for audience participation.

Harry Hare   Gee, it’s almost morning and I’m still hungry. I’d like to go across the field to get to the bramble patch, but it might be dangerous. I’d better listen with my ears to be sure it’s safe. Continue reading Nature of Sound – Puppet Show

Nature of Sound – Standards


The activities in this unit help children understand the basic concepts in the Disciplinary Core Ideas listed here. You can use the following list as a guide for lesson planning. These Disciplinary Core Ideas are taken from Grade Band Endpoints in A Framework for K-12 Science Education. Additionally, our activities give children opportunities to engage in many of the Science and Engineering Practices and reflect on the Crosscutting Concepts as identified in the Next Generation Science Standards. Continue reading Nature of Sound – Standards