Good Vibrations Class Summaries




INDIA: Sitar 1, Sitar & Tabla, Sarod

MIDDLE EAST: Santour, Kamancheh, band

ASIA: kids play Erhu, Shamisen vs. Tap, Kabuki theater

INDONESIA: Indonesian Gamelan - video 1, website 1,

AFRICA: Mbira, Mbira ensemble, Djembe

AUSTRALIA: Digeridoo1, Digeridoo 2,


WEEK 1 - Today, we imitated types of waves using a Slinky. We talked about how sound is a "pushing" (or longitudinal) wave, pushing the molecules of air. Next, we looked at an animation of a sound wave. Then, we identified the source of vibration for many different types of sounds, from our vocal chords to strings, drum heads, and more (from our drawings of "things that make sound"). Finally, we watched a Brainpop video on Sound, and did a mini-experiment with tubes and balloons! (More on that next week.)

MAIN IDEA: All sound starts with a vibration and causes "pushing of air" to make a sound wave.


WEEK 2 - Today we made waves using a tuning fork and listened to the sound as it traveled through various mediums: air, bone, the desk, glass, and styrofoam. We even saw the vibrations of the tuning fork vibrate water! We learned about pitch and volume, and even made waves ourselves. (We were the waves, and Maya made the sounds!) Many kids were looking forward to another BrainPop video, so we watched the one on Hearing.

MAIN IDEA: VOLUME (loud or soft) is detemined by the height of a wave. PITCH (low or squeaky) is determined by the FREQUENCY (or speed) of a wave. Sound needs a MEDIUM to travel through.


WEEK 3 - Today we gave three cheers for our ears! We discussed and demonstrated the parts of the ear, and watched a Bill Nye video on sound! We watched some sound waves of loud and soft songs using Garageband, then we acted out the parts of the ear for our "Ear Movie"! (to be shown next week!). At the end of class, we found out how a hanger can make sound interesting!

MAIN IDEA: Sound waves are collected by the pinna, then bounce off the eardrum. The eardrum then moves three bones, which hit the cochlea. In the cochlea, there is liquid, and when that liquid is moved, the nerve tells the brain there is a sound!


WEEK 4 - Today we learned a little more about earwax from Grossology, then used a great site to visualize some sound waves. We watched a Brainpop link on voice, and learned that the thickness of the vocal chords (just like the thickness of the guitar strings we had in class) determine the pitch of your voice. We also made a straw kazoo to study pitch, but some of us had a tough time! Finally, we learned that decibles are used to measure the loudness of sound, and learned about sounds that are safe and unsafe for our ears.


How We Hear - from the National Institute of Health (includes the wave visualization used in class)

Dangerous Decibels Virtual Exhibit - excellent interative games and activities (click on "start here")

MAIN IDEA: Earwax protects our eardrums from dirt and bugs. Sound waves can be measured in decibels. Sounds under 85 decibels are generally safe for us to listen to, while sounds louder that that require ear protection.


WEEK 5 - Animal Sounds

WEEK 6 - Musical Instruments


What's a theremin? (explanation: text, video) (old video, video - Don't Worry , video 2 - classical )

(notes for me)

talked about the Doppler Effect (more)

BBC hearing