Sound Inquiry

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Scientific Inquiry Performance Task

Task Author: Judy Sweeney
Task Title: Sound Challenge
Grade Level: 4 Foss Kit Title: Sound Activity #4
Physical Science Grade 5 Benchmark
Brief Overview of Task:
Students will design an investigation to compare the pitch of a sound to the physical properties of the sound source.


Targeted Benchmark:
Recognize that sound is produced by vibrating objects and that pitch of the sound varies by changing the rate of vibration.

Recommended Prerequisite Student Knowledge and Skills:
The students have observed vibrations and relate vibration to sound. They observe and compare different pitches and investigate variable that affect pitch: the length of vibrating objects, the tension on vibrating strings, and the rate at which sound sources vibrate.
Introduce or reinforce your students understanding of scientific inquiry including the following skills, observation, data collection, measurement, graphing, scientific questions.

Materials Needed:
Materials Generally Available:
From the Foss kit: tuning forks, mallet, measurement tools
Special Items: (Teacher must provide)
Paper towels, scissors, different sizes of cups and small buckets, paperclips, different sizes of cotton string, water to moisten paper towels and measurement tools to measure the volume of the cups and the length of the string.

Recommended Classroom Time: (in hours)
3 class sessions, 45 minutes each

Detailed Description of Task for Teachers: Explore the sounds coming from the cups. After exploration, ask students for questions that arose from their investigations. Determine which questions can be addressed, and continue with investigation.

Directions for Students to follow:
The students must develop a procedure to answer a question using scientific inquiry. The question is “In my classroom investigation, what can I change to produce a different pitch?”

1. Using the materials given to you in class, your task is to use scientific inquiry to determine how the pitch is changed.

2. You will need to conduct your scientific investigation using the material in our classroom. As you design your investigation think about which factors will vary in you study? Which will stay the same?

3. List in order the steps you will use. Make sure that your procedure is detailed so that someone else could follow it easily.

4. Construct a data table or chart to record your observations and results.

5. Perform the investigation following the steps that you have written. Write down measurements, any observations and changes in your procedure.

6. Write an interpretation and analysis of your results.

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