Fourth Grade Sound and Energy Unit

Do you like to try and guess what something is by listening to the sound it makes? If yes, you would have loved the game we did in Mrs. Atkinson’s class in science! Everyone in the class received one film canister containing an unknown object or substance. Our assignment was to identify what was inside by listening to the sound it made by shaking it. About 1/3 of the students succeeded. Some of the objects or substances were salt, water, air, marbles, dice, rubber bands, stale marshmallows, and other items.

We interviewed Mrs. Atkinson on what she wanted the students to understand about energy.  She Mrs. Atkinson showing the class you can hear sound better through a solid.wants them to understand that energy is all around us; wind, solar, hydro, thermo, and light. The second idea she wants them to understand is “sound is vibration.” We were curious to know if she has a favorite part of the unit. She shared her favorite part which are the students’ projects. She likes the variety of creative ideas the students’ show. Her favorite day is when the students present their musical instruments they designed and created. We wondered, if she could teach any science unit, what would it be? She answered “space and/or solar system” because there is so much we don’t know about space and the possibilities are endless.

Listening to sound vibrations up a string to ears.One of our experiments was to demonstrate that sound is more efficiently transmitted through solids than through air. We received wire clothes hanger, with 2 – 3 foot long strings. Next we were told to wrap each end of the string around one finger on each hand and touch our ears with our fingers. Then we hit the clothes hangers against objects around the room. The sounds were louder when we touched our ears with our fingers. The sound was louder when it vibrated up the string from the clothes hangerAnother student listening to sound which has traveled up a string to his ears. to our ears and quieter when it vibrated through the air when we took our fingers off our ears. This is a great experiment to teach us how the tighter packed molecules in a solid transmits sound faster rather than the sparsely placed molecules in a gas.

We both liked the Sound and Energy Unit. When we each reflected back on all the science units Nolan liked the Engineering and Technology Unit and Rico liked the Sound and Energy Unit best. Nolan liked the discussion of forces that a bridge has to fight to stay standing and the forces the bridge produced. Rico liked how they told the explanation on how sound travels to our ears and that pitch influences the loudness of sound. The Sound and Energy Unit was appealing and an enlightening experience.

Reported by Rico and Nolan

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