• Boys & Girls Club of Harlem

What is a Sound Wave?

An At-Home STEM Lesson Plan Crafted by BGCHarlem STEM Specialist Chaelee Dalton

Photo: Hearing Doctors


Parents:

Happy National Music Month!


This week, we are building off of last week, where we learned about sound as a vibration in the air.


This week, we are exploring the idea of sound as a wave, the different qualities waves have, and how these wave qualities relate to the sounds we hear.

Next week, we will use our understanding of sound to learn more about music to culminate the month in a project where we create musical instruments out of household materials.

If your child cannot read, read the text out loud to them. Ask them the questions and have them respond and/or solve on a separate sheet of paper. If your child can read, simply give them the second page of this handout and have them read the text out loud or in their head.


ANNOUNCEMENT: We’re going live on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays! Click here if you want your child to participate in our virtual after school program. Materials: Blank paper, pen or pencil, Internet access/YouTube

Addresses Common Core Standards:

3-PS2-2 4-PS4-1 4-PS3-2

(You may click here to print the lesson or the student may view the lesson online and write his/her answers on a separate piece of paper)


Students:


What Is a Sound Wave?

Let’s begin by returning to the sound wave simulator from last week here.

Play a few different notes.


  • Does the loudness of the sound change?

  • What does change when you play different notes?

Loudness and pitch are two different parts of sound that can be visualized in different ways! Take a look at the pictures below, or explore this website to learn more about their difference.


Pitch/Wavelength



Loudness/Amplitude


Let’s begin by looking at the pictures on the left. We see the parrot makes a high-pitched sound, the market makes a medium pitched sound, and the truck makes a low-pitched sound.

Next to each picture is a drawing of the corresponding sound wave.

  • How do the waves vary with different pitches?

At different pitches, the ___________ varies. High pitches have __________ and low pitches have ________________.

Now, let’s look at the pictures on the right. We see the leaves make a quiet sound, the traffic makes a loud sound, and the rocket makes an even louder sound. Next to each picture is a drawing of the corresponding sound wave.

  • How do the waves vary with different loudness?

At different loudness, the ___________ varies. Quiet sounds have __________ and loud sounds have ________________.

Draw a sound wave that is quiet and has a high pitch:


(Hint: what is the height/amplitude of the wave? What is the wavelength of the wave?)

Draw a sound wave that is loud and has a low pitch:

(Hint: what is the height/amplitude of the wave? What is the wavelength of the wave?)

Sound waves can also be represented by something called a spectrogram. Let’s explore a spectrogram here.

Try out some of the recorded sounds, then use the record button to make your own sounds.

Try varying your pitch and loudness. What changes do you see on the spectrogram?

  • When I change my pitch, __________________________ changes on the spectrogram.

  • High pitches have ________________ and low pitches have ____________________.

  • When I change my loudness, ______________________ changes on the spectrogram.

  • Quiet sounds have ________________ and loud sounds have ____________________.

Next week, we will apply what we know about sounds and sound waves to begin to explore the science behind music!



Special thanks to our #STEMMondays partners:


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Be sure to upload a picture of yourself with your completed lessons using the hashtag #BGCHarlem.  


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Boys & Girls Club of Harlem

521 West 145th Street

New York, NY 10031

​​Call us:

(212) 283-6770