Science of sound workshop

Today we began a brand new science topic… What is a sound?

Jayden firstly answered with some great confidence and explained “sound is a vibration” yet Sam expanded on this and together we discussed that if you can hear something… it will be vibrating in some way. 

We were asked many scientific questions inlduding “what is it in our throat that is vibrating?” Jack answered “vocal chords, in the voice box” Which was correct. Great job Jack. 👍 the scientific questions kept on coming from Sam the sound man, “What is it in our ear that vibrates?” We all knew it was an ear drum which Sam then explained sends a signal to our brain and tells you that you have heard a sound. When Sam asked us what does a sound go through to get from the vibration to the ear drum? Lana confidently air.”

We then learnt that trillions of air particles is what the sound travels through, from the energy to our ear drum.

A sound wave is where one particle bashes another and so on. Sam taught us that W hen the sound wave goes past us, it goes to our ear drum and immediately it sends a signal to our brain. Jasmeet demonstrated this through the flow of dominos. She applied a little bit of energy at one end by tapping the first domino and each domino passed on the energy to the next …just as a sound wave works on its journey to our ear drum.

We learnt that sound travels at the speed of 742 mph…! It takes sound 5 seconds to go one mile. When given the mathematical problem, Michael solved the worded problem… if lightening and thunder was 3 miles away, how long would it take to hear the sound? 3×5 = 15 seconds.well done mr Fotherby! 😀

it was great to hear that Sam was so impressed with our knowledge of sound already so he went on and extended our knowledge further. He questioned us again…”What do you hear after I clap? What do you hear.. ?” Jayden answered “an echo.“ which proved again that he has some fantastic scientific knowledge, well done Jayden. Yet we had to think carefully as to Why do we hear the sound again? Brosk was quick to  answer this time when he stated “it’s because it bounces off things like concrete.” Together we talked about how we can’t see an echo… but if we could it would look like this… Josh demonstrated this using a water tray and projector. He dropped a water droplet into the tray which acted as the energy of the sound vibration. The ripple acted as the air particles, vibrating from the edge of the tray bouncing continually. It was great to see this so clearly on the projector. We could see clearly how the ripple made a circle, it bounced on and off the walls of the tray and then back again and so on… the energy continues and continues… 

Sam didn’t stop there’d either…If we wanted to build the most echoiest room… what materials would you use?

Layla mentioned cardboard.

Moraya has been in a cave and said it was very echoey so thought about the material caves are made from,

Charlotte said a tunnel which is made out of rock.

Ben said a car park made from concrete. Joshua mentioned chalk whereas Sarah mentioned a train tunnel made from bricks. Collaboratively, we came up with many hard materials including Diamonds, stone, metal and bricks,

What about the non echoey room?

Charlotte longbottom said something really soft which prompted us all to think about softer materials. Rory said foam while Mya said sponge.

Morayo said feathers whereas Janae thought cotton. Mellissa said balls of yarn while Michael said straw.

Kenzie asked about wood… Sam told us that wood is a medium hard material so not the best for a non echoey room yet not the best for an echoey room either, this got us thinking. C make the room less echoey.. 

We quickly learnt that..

Hard materials are echoey yet soft materials aren’t echoey.

Gerradas demonstrated what it would be like if we were in a cave… back and forth, back and forth using a slinky from one source of energy to another,


Air is a gas, 

Lana mentioned that there are no air particles in space, so there would be no sound. Sound goes through the air, air is a gas. Will sound go through a liquid? As a class we all voted. More people said yes than no.

Sam asked us “Who has put their head under the water in a swimming pool?” Which made us think Yes… actually sound does travel through liquid impact, much better than gasses. 

Who thinks sound will go through a solid… three of us thought yes while lots of us thought no. 

Rehan and jack demonstrated this. Rehan was given a big stick… Jack was given a big box. Jack cuddled the big box which made us all laugh of course!

Using a tuning fork, we played the note A. Did you know that it vibrates incredibly quick: 440 times a second.

Renan took the stick and pushed it agains jacks box, vibrating the tuning fork. If sound can go thought a solid, the vibrations from the tuning fork will travel done the stick and jack will feel the vibrations in the box, 

What was the weird thing? 

We compared the sound in air and solid. We managed the make the sound of the tuning fork louder by travelling it through a solid.This was the beginning of our musical instrument Workshop…

Rehans stick is called a bridge, because it takes the vibration to one place that makes the vibration  to another that takes the vibration louder. 

We had to remember the word bridge… 

Sam asked us what machine there is today that makes sounds louder,,,

Jayden answered … “ an amplifier ”

What was in Kacks box?

Hafsa correctly answered little particles of air.

Sam taught us the word “ resinates “.. the box makes a big sound in the air, it can move a lot of air. Good resonators are made from thin stiff  and hard materials, in fact the harder it is , the thinner it needs to be to be a good amplifier. If it was made from rock it would need to be very very thin. 

We tried different materials to see if they would be a good amplifier, 

Hafsa thought about the tin, which Sam informed us would be very good. Kenzie said it was because the tin was thin yet strong.

The domino wasn’t a great amplifier…it was a bit thick but Sam said the were other reasons why it wasn’t great…. it was too small to be an amplifier. Therefore we learnt that the materials has to have a big surface area and also be strong and thin.

Gerradas mentioned the water.. it wasn’t very good. It as too soft. 

Sam did show us the water to show us the vibrations from tuning fork… it bubbled, 

Cardboard box was an excellent amplifier… it made the sound louder. Hollow makes the sound louder. 

The large plastic bottle was very good and the sound was much louder, it was hollow, it had a big surface area, it was thin, it was bigger than a domino, 

Sam then tried a big bin bag that is also plastic however it wasn’t stiff like the plastic bag, he tightened the bag to make it stiff which then allowed the sound to amplify. Maybe you could try that at home?

Hafsa wasn’t a great amplifier she wasn’t hollow, she wasn’t as thin as a tin, she has soft skin and is a little bit squidgy… well done you Hafsa for demonstrating.


We then went on to learn about Sound waves – intersetingly, the sound wave monitor showsevery sound in the world has it own unique sound wave. 

Questions that we came up with next included – what happens to the sound waves when you go louder? – we quickly learnt that they get bigger because there is lots of energy.

We looked at an old record … they weren’t cds or tapes… even older than them ( funnily, the children were very taken aback by this equipment nad I suddenly felt very old!!) Each record has a tiny little groove: It is a wiggly groove, spiralling round the record and they are exactly the same shape s a certain sound wave. 

Louder and quieter… 

What is the word begging with v… volume, we knew that confidently. 

What about pitch ? Pitch… Jacob said it is high and low. 

High sounds are squeaky

Low sounds are rumbly

We mustn’t get volume and pitch mixed up. 

We can have loud high sounds

And quiet low sounds. 

Jack said bats use pitch to get around at night. Great knowledge Jack!

Helen, Aaliyah, Charlotte, Sarah and Jasleen dropped some different lengths of wood on the floor to make it vibrate. The longer the wood, the lower the sound, the shorter the wood the higher the sound. 

Sam taught us to make a xylophone.. we had planks of wood, all different lengths. They were just slightly difffent in length. 

Sam took the long one and stuck them over the edge of the base. 

The top bit of wood was banging against the bottom piece of wood. 

Sam had some pipe insulation, and stuck it down on the wooden frame, 

When we listened, the sounds were much purer…What did the foam do for the sound? It allows for more now vibrated better meaning better sound.

Sam purposely stuck the wood over the edge for the frame..The sound wasn’t good when it over the edge.  This was because there is a special place where you can hit the material for huge beat sound. It is called the node. 

When we make a xylophone we must not forget about the node.

We need beaters for our xylophone. 

Don’t ever hit your instrument with an beater that is harder than the instrument. Bouncy balls, elastic bands, 

Hafsas hypotheses- she thought everything in the world that is short will produce high and squeaky sound whereas things that are long will make a low and rumbly sound (pitch)

Lumps of stone, lumps of metal. All were the same as Hafsas hypotheses.

Long Metal tunes, Hafsa was right

Short metal tunes, Hafsa was right again. All the longer pieces made a lower pitch, the shorter pieces made a higher pitch. 

Nothing was proving Hafsas hypotheses wrong. 

We had a thought… everything we tested was a solid. What about if we tested a gas?

We ordered ourselves into height order and had long and shorter straws. 

Zakarya was the tallest, therefore had the longest straw… Wah Yhan was the shortest this time so had the shortest straw. By blowing through the straw, the air particles inside the Column of gas vibrated. We tried to prove Hafsas hypotheses wrong again…would the long column of gas be low and rumbly and the shorter column of gas be high and squeaky? Yes they were, so still Hafsas hypotheses was correct. Even the columns of gas that were longer and shorter meant that long was a lower pitch and short was a higher pitch. 

Even with larger tubes and larger columns of gas…Dara tested this with huge tubes and made vibrations with a flip flop yet still Hafsas hypotheses was correct. The air in the longer columns of gas made a low pitch sound, but the air in the shorter columns of gas made a high pitch sound. 

Joshua asked if we could test liquid… we liked his thinking, Sam vibrated the column of liquid in the glass, We all hear the pitch of the sound made clearly, however when he drank parts of the water to make the column of liquic shorter and then vibrated the column of liquid again, the pitch of the sound was higher!! In fact, each time he made the column of liquid shorter, the pitch of the sound was higher. 

So we tested this with objects… larger whistles made lower pitch sound whereas the smaller whistles made a very high and squeaky pitch sound. 

We learnt a way of remembering Hafsa’s hypotheses for the pitch of sounds…

A truck is low and rumbly…

A mouse is high and squeaky…

If objects are large like a truck they will make a low and rumbly pitch…

If objects are smaller, the pitch will be high and squeaky…

To end off our amazing experience, Sam taught us how to make an instrument using metal tubes. Savannah demonstrated cutting the tubes into different lengths using a tube cutter.

We want to thank Sam for such an extraordinary day of science, we loved every minute and have learnt so much about sound. We can’t wait to get back to class on Monday and begin making sounds with Hafsa’s hypothesis in mind…


What at did you enjoy most about the workshop and what has stuck with you?

Superhero treats…

Story starter!

Despite being a superhero, spending the majority of his time battling against crime and dangerous villains in Gotham City with an array of different skills and deadly weapons, Batman had a weakness for chicken nuggets.

The other superheroes were also making the most of their afternoon off from saving the world. However, they didn’t have long: soon they would have to get back to business…


Complete the story…


Can you use some of our new sentence types?

  • Imagine…
  • De: De

I am looking forward to reading your blog posts…

Good luck year 4,

Mrs P xx

Maths working wall…

Here are some of the multiplication methods we have learnt in maths this week.

1. What have you learnt? What learning behaviours did you have to use?

2. What is your favourite method and why?

3. Which method will you try hard to practice this weekend?