Sound Waves - Pre-K activity
Making instruments is a great fun for preschoolers! It's also a great way to introduce the idea of sound waves and vibrations. There's no need to delve deep into these ideas, but using these physics terms breed familiarity.
And this time, we did it without instruction. Just put out some beads, balloons, plastic cups n tubs, and paper cardboard tubes.
I made a drum by cutting the bottom off a balloon, stretching it over a container. Tapped on it with a pencil crayon, and then the kids wanted to make their own. Of course, adding beads and stuff was really exciting and exploratory and magical.
Sooooooo the noise factor was amazing. And then, someone noticed that things only make noise when they shake! Sound waves, man!
With all the kids from kindergarten to grade four, we made plastic cup telephones.
Take two cups, poke a hole in the bottom, thread the string through and secure. Alternatives include making it with paper clips hooking through (good if you want to change up the cups with a single string) or beads for securing (excellent sound quality).
We brought it plastic, paper and styrofoam cups of all kinds of description to experiment with. The 7-8 year olds were particularly delighted to make these and experiment with various configurations.
In order to bring in the sound vibration thing, we'd test our phones both with the string taught and slack. The obvious thing is it just doesn't work with a slack string -- but why?
Well, one way to investigate this is to flick the string while keeping it taught. This'll make a noise and you'll be able to see the vibration -- the key to making sound. This imagery is good to keep in mind, as the string is truly making a wave. A physical wave that produces sound waves!
More sound machines.