Science Projects: Sound
Are you looking for ideas for a science project on sound? This article has information and ideas for sound science projects for students in 1st-4th grade, 5th-8th grade, and 9th-12th grade.
Sound is the topic for this set of science projects to extend studentsâ€™ classroom and textbook experience. A few tips are given for each range of grades. As you would expect, projects become more complex and demanding for older, more experienced students. Projects are made to be modified: you can easily adapt them to make them easier or more demanding. Also you can alter projects from a higher or lower range of grades than your studentâ€™s level if it is appropriate for the studentâ€™s development and the curriculum youâ€™re using.
1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Grade
Tips: Elementary students are likely to need help with planning and carrying out long term projects. They may also need assistance in recording observations if their writing skills are not well-enough developed.
- Create musical instruments with varying sounds by a) stretching rubber bands to smaller and greater lengths and securing them on nails (or some other way) and then plucking them; b) filling a set of glasses with varying amounts of water from less to more and then tapping the rim with a metal spoon handle; and c) cardboard tubes of various sizes which you tap on with a wooden spoon. Use these explorations to figure out what determines pitch.
- Try making megaphones of different materials and different sizes and develop an experiment to see which one works best.
- Match sound sources to sounds including vehicles, animals, musical instruments, voices, and other household sounds. Describe the sounds.
- Experiment with pitch matching using an instrument and singing or two instruments (say, a piano and a recorder).
- Make a model to show how sound travels.
- Use an illustration or model of the human ear to explain how we hear sounds.
- Use a stethoscope to listen to the sound of your heart. Use the sound to calculate your heart rate.
- Consider how animals use sound. In your researches, include bats, dolphins, humans, frogs, and dogs.
5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th Grade
Tips: Designed to be more challenging that the elementary projects, the intermediate project suggestions are appropriate for students who can carry out the tasks.
- Experiment with reflection and reverberation by going into different rooms and making the same loud sound, facing the center of the room and facing the walls.
- Research different ways of capturing and preserving sound, including records, CDs, audiotapes, etc.
- Figure out a way to use an electrical circuit to cause a sound.
- Design an experiment to discover differences in how sound travels through different media (e.g., water, air, etc.)
- Choose a musical instrument and explain how it produces sound. Relate it to other instruments in its family and contrast it with 2 instruments and two other instrument families.
9th, 10th, 11th, and 12th Grade
Tips: In order to better fit the student or curriculum youâ€™re using, feel free to adapt or extend these projects. In addition, if the student finds something to point the development of the project in a new direction, you might consider allowing the project to proceed from this point, rather than sticking to the original plan. Students will likely benefit from intermediate check-ins, as well as due dates, for long-term projects.
- Compare and contrast acoustic and digital sound. Explain the uses of each.
- Use a synthesizer (moog or otherwise) to â€œdesignâ€ a sound. Give it a name and describe it.
- Make a model of the human sound production system, labeling the parts.
- Compare and contrast sound waves and seismic waves.
- Make a recording in a sound editing program, such as GarageBand. Use the program to alter the sound. Find as many ways as possible to alter the soundâ€™s features, for example, pitch, volume, duration, etc.
- Research echos and find a location where you can consistently create an echo. Rewrite the myth of Echo and Narcissus, using this location as the setting.
- Diagram the different types of sound, including high frequency sound, and identify its uses.
- Research the use of sound as a deterrent for unwanted behavior in dogs and in humans. Prepare an argument for whether or not, in your opinion, it is appropriate to attempt to control human behavior with sound.