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Lights & Sounds    Mystery 1

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In this Mystery, students investigate vibrations as a source of sound effects for movies.

How do they make silly sounds in cartoons?

Beginning Exploration (1 of 2)
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Beginning Exploration (2 of 2)
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Beginning Activity Prep
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Activity Prep

Each student will need:

  • A ruler (wooden or plastic).

You may also want a way to make thunder. You can have a rainstorm without it, but it’s a lot of fun to add the rumble and crash of thunder. (Also, making thunder demonstrates that vibration creates sound.)

If you want to add thunder, we suggest you use a Thunder Sheet — which could be a cookie sheet, a plastic cake pan lid, a sheet of stiff paper, or a disposable aluminum pan. Watch this video to see how to use these items to make thunder.

If you are making a rainstorm with a group, most people will make the sound of raindrops, but one person will be Thunder Master, the maker of thunder. If possible, decide who will be Thunder Master before class and let them experiment to get a great thunder sound.

Beginning Activity: Be a Sound Effects Artist
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Beginning Activity: Be a Sound Effects Artist
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Beginning Activity: Be a Sound Effects Artist
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Beginning Activity: Be a Sound Effects Artist
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Beginning Activity: Be a Sound Effects Artist
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Beginning Activity: Be a Sound Effects Artist
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Beginning Activity: Be a Sound Effects Artist
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Beginning Activity: Be a Sound Effects Artist
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Beginning Activity: Be a Sound Effects Artist
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Beginning Complete!

You've completed the Exploration & Activity!

If you have more time, view the reading and extension activity in the optional extras.

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Optional Extras

Below are ideas for extending this topic beyond the activity & exploration you just completed.
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Activity: More Fun with Sound Effects

Have your students try other sound effects that are favorites of sound effects artists.

  • For a chugging steam train, shake a box of macaroni and cheese in just the right rhythm.
  • For a crackling fire, crunch a package of ramen noodles or crumple a big piece of cellophane wrap.
  • For a gurgling stream, use a drinking straw to blow bubbles in a cup of water.
  • For a flying bird or bat, slap a pair of leather gloves together.
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Read-aloud books

These read-alouds are great — but maybe they’d be even better with sound effects. Consider inviting your students to add their sounds. (Be warned: This can get noisy!)

For more noisy books, check out Teaching with Kids Books.

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