Lower Elementary students learn about energy through sound by making musical instruments. One student wondered if the popsicle stick instrument he had made was a chordophone or aerophone. He noticed that the vibrations creating the sound involve both a rubber band and blowing of air. He declared it should be categorized as an aerochordophone. 😀

Did you notice the teacher encouraged him to think? By asking open ended questions, she let him figure out which category it fit into. Now he will truly understand the difference between the different vibrations. Even the first graders understand technical terms like ‘vibrations’, ‘energy’ and ‘sound waves’. Take a look at all the instruments they made.

Afterwards, they connected their physical explorations about sound with weekly nature journal time. After exploring how sound can be visualized using an oscilloscope, students headed outside to visualize the varied sounds they could hear in nature.

What might a loud harsh bark from a dog look like? How can we show that the bird’s song changes pitch? They thought and wrote and drew and learned!