University of Virginia
Physics Department

Sound Activity Stations

A Physical Science Activity

2003 Virginia SOLs

 

Objectives

Students will

Motivation for Learning

 

  

Background Information

Students will visit 7 different stations in their exploration of sound. To accomodate a class, students need to be broken into 14 different groups. There will be two sets of each station to allow all students to visit every station in the allotted time period. Some stations require a little more time than others but students are not to move to a new station until told to do so. To determine station time, the teacher can split her class time into 7 parts. It is best to go over the general lab instructions on the previous day so the whole period can be used for the lab. This activity is NOT an experiment and is different from most activities students have done. Each station has SPECIFIC directions and students are to follow the directions carefully and answer the questions as they go. Some times it may appear that a station has the same question twice but students are supposed to do something in between the two steps. Students cannot DO the activity then answer the questions but must answer the questions as they do the steps.

 Resources

Science in Your Ear computer program

Video-Bill Nye-Sound

Video-Schlessinger Science Library-Physical Science in Action, Sound

http://www.ornl.gov/ornl94/blasting.html Blasting the Past an application of sound

Student Activity

To print out the Student Copy only, click here.

Materials:

Station 1

Station 3

Station 4

Station 5

Station 6

Station 7

Set up notes: All stations are to have a duplicate station except station 7. All supplies need to be duplicated except station 7. Two groups can be at station 7 at one time due to the expense of equipment.

At station 7 the oscilloscope and keyboard need to be connected so that students can see the sound displayed on the oscilloscope. Tech labs often have oscilloscopes that can be borrowed and many music departments have keyboards that can be borrowed. A computer with microphone and available software can also be used.

 

Procedure

PLEASE FOLLOW THE DIRECTIONS CAREFULLY STEP BY STEP

Singing Glasses-Activity station #1

  1. Hold the bottom of a partially filled wine glass with one hand. Wet the top rim of the glass and run your finger around the edge quickly.
  2. Answer question #1.
  3. Choose two glasses with different amounts of water in them and repeat the procedure. PLEASE HOLD THE BOTTOM OF THE GLASS!
  4. Answer question #2 and question #3.
  5. If time permits, try to set up a musical scale. Mix glasses up before you leave the station.
  6. Go to station #2 when told to do so.

Straw Sound-Activity Station #2

  1. Get ONE straw.
  2. Cut one end of the straw into a V shape then pinch it together.
  3. Answer question #1 on the activity sheet.
  4. Blow on the V cut into the straw. (Experiment until you get some sound)
  5. Answer question #2 on the activity sheet.
  6. Cut the non-V-shaped end into different lengths to get different pitches.
  7. Answer questions #3 and #4 on the activity sheet.
  8. Go to station #3 when told to do so.

Tuning Fork-Activity Station #3

  1. Strike the prongs of the large tuning fork sharply against a large rubber stopper. Observe the loudness of the sound and use the stopwatch to measure the length of time it can be heard before it "dies away."
  2. Answer questions #1 and #2 on the activity sheet.
  3. Strike the same fork again. This time hold the rod end firmly against a tabletop. Observe the loudness of the sound and use the stopwatch to measure the length of time it can be heard.
  4. Answer questions #3 and #4 on the activity sheet.
  5. Strike the large tuning fork sharply against a large rubber stopper. Put the tuning fork into water and observe what happens.
  6. Do the above procedure again using the smaller tuning fork and observe what happens.
  7. Answer question #5 on the activity sheet. If you need to repeat the process to answer the question, please do so.
  8. Go to station #4 when told to do so.


"Telephone" Sound-Activity Station #4

  1. One person should hold a cup to their ear and the other partner should talk into the other cup. Make sure the string is tight but do not pull the string out of the cups!
  2. Answer questions #1-#3 on the activity sheet.
  3. Use the special Space Phone as you did the cups.
  4. Go to station #5 when told to do so.

 

Sound Bottles-Activity station #5

  1. Answer question #1 on the activity sheet.
  2. Gently strike the side of the bottle with the metal spoon.
  3. Answer question #2.
  4. Experiment with where you strike the bottle. Answer question #3.
  5. Strike the bottles again carefully noting which bottle has the highest pitch and which has the lowest.
  6. Answer questions #4 and #5.
  7. Go to station #6 when told to do so.

 

Sound Tubes-Activity station #6

  1. Take sound tube and slowly twirl it above your head.
  2. Answer question #1.
  3. Increase the speed of the tube.
  4. Answer question #2.
  5. Change the direction you spin the tube.
  6. Answer question #3.
  7. Change the end of the tube you are holding (hold the other end) and do all of the above steps again.
  8. Answer question #4.
  9. Choose the end of the tube to hold that worked the best and try lifting the tube up and down when you spin it.
  10. Answer question #5.
  11. Go to station #7 when told to do so, you will be sharing this station with another group.

Oscilloscope-Activity station #7

You will be sharing this station with another group, there will be four at this station.

  1. DO NOT TOUCH ANY OF THE KNOBS ON THE OSCILLOSCOPE!!!
  2. Push a key on the left end of the keyboard.
  3. Answer question #1.
  4. Push a key on the right end of the keyboard.
  5. Answer question #2.
  6. Increase the volume on the keyboard and hit the same keys one at a time.
  7. Answer question #3.
  8. If time permits experiment with the combination of keys.
  9. Go to station #1 when told to do so.

 

Students with Special Needs

All students should be able to participate in this activity. Explain each station verbally to students before they start the lab. Go through the question sheets also so students understand that each question relates to a specific step at the activity station. This lab will be very noisy and will tend to excite some students that will need to be reminded to enjoy but to get back on task.

Click here for further information on laboratories with students with special needs.

 

Assessment

To print out the Assessment only, click here.

Activity Station #1

1. What type of sound did you produce? What did it sound like?







2. Which glass had the highest pitch sound? Did it have more or less water?







3. What do you believe caused the sound, the water, the air, or the glass?







4. Were you able to set up a musical scale? If so, how did the amount of water and pitch compare?







Activity Station #2

1. Why do you cut and pinch the straw? (Hint: think of a clarinet and how it works.)







2. Write a hypothesis concerning the length of the vibrating air column and the pitch that you hear.







3. What is the relationship betwen the length of the straw and the sound produced? Was your hypothesis correct or incorrect?







4. How can the length of the vibrating air column be changed on a musical instrument without cutting it?







Activity Station #3

1. What was the relative loudness of the tuning fork, was it loud or could you barely hear it?







2. Using the stopwatch, how long does it take for the sound to die out so you can no longer hear the tuning fork?







3. What is the relative loudness now, was it loud or could you barely hear it?







4. Using the stopwatch, how long does it take for the sound to die out so you can no longer hear the tuning fork?







5. Which tuning fork spilled the most water? WHY?!







Activity Station #4

1. How is sound transferred from one cup to the other?







2. What is the medium that it is being transferred in?







3. Sound waves are what type of wave?







4. Why did the sound transmit better with the special "telephone?"







Activity Station #5

1. What will happen if you strike the bottle with a metal spoon?







2. What vibrated to make the sound you heard?







3. Where did you hit the jar to give the best sound?







4. Write a hypothesis concerning which bottle will have a higher pitch and which will have a lower pitch.







5. Was your hypothesis correct? Which bottle had the highest and which had the lowest?







Activity Station #6

1. What did it sound like? What type of sound did it make?







2. Did the sound change when you increased the speed? What did it sound like?






3. Did changing the direction change the sound?







4. Did changing the direction of the tube change the sound?







5. Write a statement explaining how best to get sound from the tubes.







Activity Station #7

1. What does the wave look like?







2. What does this wave look like?







3. How does the volume effect the appearance of the wave? Make a statement about pitch and volume to wave appearance.








Answers to Assessment:

Activity Station #1

  1. Answers will vary but something along the lines of a single note, maybe a high sound.
  2. The glass with the least water.
  3. The vibrating air column.
  4. Least water to most water will be high to low pitch.

Activity Station #2

  1. So the air will make the plastic vibrate when it goes by.
  2. Students may have various hypotheses on this but it must relate to the length of the vibrating air column and the pitch.
  3. The shorter the straw, the higher the pitch.
  4. Various instruments use holes in the vibrating air column to shorten and lengthen the air column. A trombone is a good example.

Activity Station #3

  1. The tuning fork would be moderately loud, may be difficult to hear in the room.
  2. Times will vary but it should be less than the time in question 4.
  3. The tuning fork should sound louder now as it moves through a solid.
  4. Times will vary but it should be more than #2.
  5. The larger tuning fork should make a bigger splash.

Activity Station #4

  1. By the string.
  2. The string is the medium.
  3. Longitudinal or compression waves.
  4. The metal connector is denser than the string so the sound waves transmit better.

Activity Station #5

  1. Sound will be produced.
  2. Air column.
  3. Hitting it on the non-water part.
  4. Students will have various hypothesis.
  5. Highest pitch was the bottle with the least water.

Activity Station #6

  1. Various descriptions.
  2. Sound changed pitches when you changed the speed.
  3. Changing direction did not change the sound.
  4. Changing direction did not change the sound.
  5. When you change the speed of the tube, the pitch changes.

Activity Station #7

  1. Answer should be related to a low frequency wave.
  2. Answer should be related to a high frequency wave.
  3. The greater the volume the larger the wave amplitude.