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Lesson Plan: Good Vibrations!

Grade: 4

Enduring Understanding:Light and sound are forms of energy which travel in a straight line, and can be absorbed, transmitted and reflected.

sound waves vibrations transmitted

Introduction: Students learn that sound causes vibrations by making salt dance using a tuning fork.

Materials and Resources: rice paper sound source (e.g., radio, CD, or cassette player) tuning fork waxed paper or saran wrap elastic band large, empty plastic yogurt or ice cream container

Strand: Energy and Control

The Big Idea: Light and sound are forms of energy with specific properties. Sound is created by vibrations.

1. Engage:
Teacher Demonstration: Using a sound source - radio, CD, or cassette player, tested by the teacher beforehand - place a piece of paper directly on the source of the sound. Place about 10 grains of rice on the paper, and turn the volume on high. Ask students to explain what they notice. (Depending on your sound source, the movement of rice grains may be minimal - barely noticeable. Call up students to observe the activity.) Using a copy of the KWHL chart (TM-1) on overhead, chart paper, or blackboard, use student suggestions to fill in the What we know section about sound. (Keep time relatively short.) As a class, record any questions or wonderings students have about the demo and sound under the What we want to know section of the class chart. Discuss with students how scientists work - how an interest, curiosity and/or observation leads to a question which leads to testing and more observations. This leads to further questions and additional testing and observations. Inform students that today they will act like scientists to make keen observations and generate testable questions (i.e., those questions which can be answered through investigating).

Process Skill: Ask questions Assessment Type: Teacher observations Inquiry Type: Structured

2. Explore:
Inform students that they will be further investigating how sound travels with additional activities. Place students in multi-ability groups of 3 or 4. Give each group the Observational Journal-Placemat chart. (Refer to TM-2: Observational JournalPlacemat Suggestion (Reference) for tips on setting up the placemat.) Students complete the Dancing Salt activity, (use TM-3: Dancing Salt Procedure as a chart or student handout), and record their own observations and questions into their section of the placemat. Note: To help students hone their observation skills and develop a greater depth of descriptions of the activity, pose questions from TM-4: Cultivating Keen Observers - Levels of Observation (Reference) to the groups as they are working. Using a round robin strategy, each group member shares their questions, then decide on 3 that they would like to share with the class.

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Lesson Plan: Good Vibrations!

Grade: 4

Enduring Understanding:Light and sound are forms of energy which travel in a straight line, and can be absorbed, transmitted and reflected.

3. Explain:
Have students report findings to the class . Clarify any misconceptions that may arise. Explain that the activity they just completed with the tuning fork and salt demonstrates how sound energy is transmitted by vibrations. (Refer to Background Information section.) Have groups share questions (from the placemat activity). Record these questions under the What we want to know section of the class KWHL chart. As a class, brainstorm strategies for finding answers to questions. Record these ideas under the How will we find the answers? section of the class KWHL chart .Explain to students that there are many different ways to answer questions . Some questions can be answered by reading information from a book or article, or by asking an expert. Others can be answered by acting like a scientist. This involves making detailed observations and/or doing tests or experiments. These types of questions lead to taking action. Therefore, they are called testable questions With the students, sort through and classify the various questions that have previously been recorded . Explain to students that those questions that are testable (those that can be answered by exploring, observing or testing) will be highlighted in yellow (or place a star beside them). Possible examples include: Will the grains of rice move differently with different types of music? What would happen if we used a different material other than salt (e.g., cereal, pencil shavings)?

4. Elaborate:
With their groups , students reflect on all of the questions they have generated about sound and how it travels . They should check off any questions that have been answered previously in the lesson, and then star or highlight any questions on their lists that are testable. Each group should select 1 testable question that they would be interested in exploring further . (This can be from the class list or from the placemats.) They should then attempt to find the answer to their question. Observations can be recorded on the placemat under the information obtained from the Dancing Salt activity. Groups should have an opportunity to orally share their findings with classmates . Possible variations of the Dancing Salt Activity: materials to watch, such as grains of rice, mint flakes, chili pepper, flower petals, puffed rice or wheat, etc. selections of paper, plastic, sheet of rubber or piece of a balloon type of medium - water in container; change shape of container Additional Activities: compare how sound travels through different materials (e.g., solid, liquid, gas)

5. Evaluate:
Science Journal Entry or Oral Conference Students individually complete the What we learned section of the KWHL chart in their Science Journal (or oral conference with teacher). Their response should include: what they learned about the characte

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Lesson Plan: Good Vibrations!

Grade: 4

Enduring Understanding:Light and sound are forms of energy which travel in a straight line, and can be absorbed, transmitted and reflected.
Background Information for the Teacher

The source of all sound is movement in the form of vibrations. These vibrations move outward in a wave-like pattern. In a sound wave, individual molecules do not move very far, but the vibration moves from one molecule to the next. Sound waves spread out in all directions, striking objects and walls, bouncing off of them and sending the waves in new directions. Eventually the waves weaken and fade away. Energy, not matter, is transferred. We hear sound after these vibrations have entered our ears. The sound vibrations cause a super-sensitive membrane in our ears the ear drum to begin to vibrate; the eardrum transfers the vibrations to three tiny bones: the hammer, anvil and stirrup. These bones, called ossicles, amplify and transmit the vibrations to the inner ear where they are changed into nerve impulses. The nerve impulses are then carried to the brain where they are perceived as sound. Dancing Salt Activity: When a tuning fork is struck, the tines move rapidly back and forth. Their vibration causes the molecules of air around them to vibrate, which in turn makes the salt on the wrap vibrate. It is best to strike the fork against a soft surface and to do so only once, because repeated strikes will interrupt the vibrations rather than strengthen them.
Where Does This Lesson Fit in Your Unit Plan?

This lesson should be incorporated when learning about the various characteristics and properties of light and sound. (Lessons include: How do different sources produce light and sound? How are the properties of sound and light similar and different from each other? How do we detect and use light and sound?)

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Lesson Plan: Good Vibrations!

Grade: 4

Enduring Understanding:Light and sound are forms of energy which travel in a straight line, and can be absorbed, transmitted and reflected.

Instructional Intelligence Strategy:

What to Look For:

Students will be able to explain how sound is transmitted. Students will demonstrate their ability to use observations to generate testable questions.
Teaching Masters:

T.V.D.S.B. Unit at a Glance Framework - Grade 4 Energy & Control TM-1: KWHL (Handout-Chart) TM-2: Observational Journal - Placemat Suggestion (Reference) TM-3: Dancing Salt Procedure (Handout-Chart) TM-4: Cultivating Keen Observers - Levels of Observi
References / Websites:

Safety Considerations:

Students should be reminded not to eat food used in any science activity, unless instructed by the teacher.

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Lesson Plan: Good Vibrations!

Grade: 4

Enduring Understanding:Light and sound are forms of energy which travel in a straight line, and can be absorbed, transmitted and reflected.
Incorporating Numeracy in your Lesson

Incorporating Literacy in your Lesson:

* working in whole class, small group and partner activities 4e5 Active Listening Strategies 1.2 demonstrate an understanding of appropriate listening behaviour by adapting active listening strategies to suit a variety of situations, including work in groups 4e14 Interactive Strategies 2.2 demonstrate an understanding of appropriate speaking behaviour in a variety of situations, including paired sharing and small- and large-group discussions 4e15 Clarity and Coherence 2.3 communicate in a clear, coherent manner, presenting ideas, opinions, and information in a readily understandable form 4e16 Appropriate Language 2.4 use appropriate words and phrases from the full range of their vocabulary, including inclusive and non-discriminatory terms, and appropriate elements of style, to communicate their meaning accurately and engage the interest of their audience * Individual sections of Placemat 4e51 Classifying Ideas 1.4 sort and classify ideas and information for their writing in a variety of ways Literacy Connections (e.g., shared readings, guided reading, read alouds, etc.) Sound Science, Etta Kaner (ISBN: 1550740547) Exploring Sound, Ed Catherall (ISBN: 0750202645) All About Sound, Melvin Berger (ISBN: 0590467603) Light and Sound, Maureen Chudyk (ISBN: 1550356275) See Hear Playing with Light and Sound, Milan Tytla (ISBN: 1550379887)

Specific Expectations Covered in this Lesson:

2.3 investigate the basic properties of sound 2.6 use appropriate science and technology vocabulary, including natural, artificial, beam of light, pitch, loudness, and vibration, in oral and written communication 3.4 describe properties of sound, including the following: sound travels; sound can be absorbed or reflected and can be modified 3.5 explain how vibrations cause sound

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TM-1 (Good Vibrations)


Name: _____________________________________

Date: _________________

What is sound and how does it travel? K
What we Know

What I want to know

How will we find the answer(s)?

What we Learned

Observation Journal - Placemat Suggestions

Each group will require one placemat. A placemat is a piece of chart paper that has previously been divided into equal sections around a central section (which is usually in the shape of a circle or square). The number of sections will be determined by the number of students in each group.

The placemat should be placed in the centre of a group (all group members should have access to their section of the placemat). Students will be expected to work cooperatively on the placemat. Students will need explicit instruction on how to share ideas in groups (e.g., listening attentively, one person speaks at a time, all ideas are considered, etc.) Each group member should initial or sign their section of the placemat. Each group member should further divide their section into 2 columns. One column should be labelled Observations, the other I wonder.... Refer to the diagram.
I wonder I observe I wonder I observe I observe

I wonder

TM-3 (Good Vibrations)


Dancing Salt
Materials : tuning fork waxed paper or saran wrap elastic band large, empty plastic yogurt or ice cream container salt



Use the elastic to secure the waxed paper or saran wrap tightly over the top of the plastic container. ( The paper should be taut.)


Scatter a few grains of salt over the taut surface.


Strike the edge of your shoe with the tuning fork and hold the vibrating tines near the salt, without touching it.


Repeat the activity 2 or 3 times.


Record observations and any additional questions in the individual sections of the placemat.

TM-4 (Good Vibrations)


Cultivating Keen Observers - Levels of Observations

As students are observing, work progressively through the following question categories to inspire "deeper" levels of observation. What new "wonderings" do the observations spark?

Questions About Details

< < What do you notice? How would you describe what you see/feel? First have students take a "macro" view of the whole scene. Then have them move closer or otherwise shift focus so they have a closeup view of a small area. Ask, What more do you notice when you shift your perspective? If practical, have youngsters "observe" with a variety of senses or give them tools, such as hand lenses, thermometers, or a microscope to extend their senses. Ask, what new information did you uncover?


Counting/Measuring Questions
< How many? How long? How often?

Comparison Questions
< < How is it the same as? Different than? What does it remind you of? What changes do you notice?

Prediction Questions
< < What do you think (predict) will happen next? Why? What do you think would happen if?

Reasoning Questions
< < < < What do you think is happening and why? How could you explain? What is your hypothesis? How might someone else explain or interpret this same scene/phenomenon?

Adapted from: Journey North (