Activity 1

Activity Title: 

What is sound?

Unit Title: 

Feel The Noise

Estimated Duration: 

2 Days




Worksheets, graphing calculators (optional), sound meter or sound meter app, app such as Dog Whistle (free), Tone Generator (free), or a method of generating sound of a given frequency. A small amplifier with the proper cables to connect to the Tone Generator in order to produce the given volume of sound will probably be necessary.

Worksheet: What is sound?

Worksheet: Measuring Sound

Teacher Advance Preparation:

The teacher should familiarize themselves with the concepts of sound and the measurement of sound in watts/ square meter converted to the decibel scale.  


David Macmorine


July 2014

Activity Objectives

The students will be to identify the nature of sound and sound measurement.

Guiding Questions
  1. What is sound?
  2. Sound travels.  How fast does it travel?
  3. Can you hear sound like everyone else in this room?
  4. What is amplitude?
  5. What is frequency?
  6. Can sound cause discomfort?
  7. Can sound cause health problems?
  8. Is sound a type of energy?
  9. How is sound measured?
  10. What is a decibel?
Academic Standards

HS-PS4-1. Use mathematical representations to support a claim regarding relationships among the frequency, wavelength, and speed of waves traveling in various media.

HS-PS4-5. Communicate technical information about how some technological devices use the principles of wave behavior and wave interactions with matter to transmit and capture information and energy.* 

Activity Procedures
  1. Ask the students about the sounds all around us.
  2. Ask how does the ear sense sound?
  3. How does sound travel through air?
  4. Is there sometimes too much sound around us?
  5. Where, and in what situations is there too much noise?
  6. Is this room designed in any way to transmit or eliminate sound?
  7. Are there any careers where study of sound is needed?
  8. How is sound measured?

dB means a sound is 10 times louder (or softer), but a difference of 20 dB means a sound is 100 times louder ( or softer).