Sound (SOL 5.2)





SOL:    5.2  

The student will investigate and understand how sound is transmitted and is used as a means of communication. Key concepts include

  • frequency, waves, wavelength, resonance, vibration;
  • the ability of different media (solids, liquids, gases) to transmit sound; and
  • communication tools (voice, Morse code, sonar, animal sounds, musical instruments).



Objective:  The child will create 3 out of 4 frequency diagrams that correctly represent a sound’s amplitude and frequency.  The child will identify the pitch of a sound as high or low with 80% accuracy.


Sound wave diagrams




Ear as a hearing mechanism



Affective Objective:  The child will appreciate that music can communicate sadness in a beautiful way.  The child will see Jazz, Blues, and Gospel music represented in oil paintings. The child will appreciate art created by African American artists.  The child will work cooperatively in pairs and share chalk and boards.

Psychomotor Objective:  The child will develop “ear-eye-hand” coordination as he or she creates a frequency diagram that translates the sound of a guitar string being plucked onto a chalk board.

small chalk boards
Miles Davis’ recording “Summertime”
guitar (or any musical instrument)
Bill Nye the Science Guy video
Magic School Bus book about sound In the Haunted Museumpicture book about Gospel music


Advanced Organizer: The Blues:  Miles Davis and Michele Wood’s oil paintings.  Show pictures of how the artist interpreted Blues and then play Miles Davis’ piece “Summertime.”  Ask the children what colors they would use to paint that song.  Like color, music can communicate feelings very well, and that is art.

Pass out quiz.  This quiz is to test students’ prior knowledge.

Watch Bill Nye the Science Guy video on sound. (9 minutes) Pause tape at the ultrasound and pose the question, “Can we hear ultrasound waves?”  Pause tape at the eardrum model and tell children about scarring that causes older people to hear more poorly than when they were young.

Review frequency, introduce amplitude.  On the board, demonstrate high amplitude.

Introduce decibel, the unit that measures loudness.  A whisper is about 20 decibels.  A quiet room is about 40 decibels.  A soft conversation is about 50 decibels.  A rock band is about 110 decibels.

Have children practice combining amplitude and decibel.  

Play guitar at different pitches and different volumes.  Let them interpret the notes on their frequency and amplitude displays.

Model the first example on the board, give the children at least 3 examples.

Ask children to tell what is happening between playing the sound and hearing the sound.  Where are the sound waves?  

What is happening in your ear?

Does your brain matter in the hearing process?


Complete a final frequency and amplitude diagram.  This time, make it harder by having the children combine 2 sounds.  First, play a soft and high-pitched note.  Then, play a loud and low-pitched note.

Recap the properties we know about sound (pitch and amplitude).

Dismiss class.

If time is left over, close with the Magic School Bus book, In the Haunted Museum.