Seeing Sound
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Can you think of a time you've ever seen sound? Usually, people think of hearing sound, not seeing it.

For a long time, people have been trying to see sound in different ways. On the next slide, you'll see how a music composer, Nigel Stanford, has made lots of ways to see sound!

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This is a pretty cool video with so many ways to see sound waves! Today, we'll focus on three parts of the video.

You’re going to make observations and think of what might explain what’s going on in these devices. Don’t worry if you aren’t totally sure yet, you’ll learn new concepts throughout the unit that will help you make sense of what you’re seeing.

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Get a See-Think-Wonder chart to record your ideas.

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In today's activity, you'll make predictions about how each device makes sound waves visible.

It’s okay if you aren't sure of the right answer yet. After each Mystery, you'll have an opportunity to change or add to your drawing.

We'll walk you through it, step by step.

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It's time to do some investigations! In this unit, you'll explore how sound and music work. This will help you figure out how to explain the Metal Plates, Speaker Dish, and Ruben's Tube. At the end of the unit, you will use everything you've learned to design your own device that makes sound visible!

Have fun, and stay curious!

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You've completed the Unit Starter!

Be sure to keep each student's Seeing Sound worksheet accessible. They will revise it after each Mystery.

Teach Mystery 1 next: How far can a whisper travel?

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Image & Video Credits

Mystery Science respects the intellectual property rights of the owners of visual assets. We make every effort to use images and videos under appropriate licenses from the owner or by reaching out to the owner to get explicit permission. If you are the owner of a visual and believe we are using it without permission, please contact us—we will reply promptly and make things right.

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Cymatics: Science Vs. Music - Nigel Stanford by Image used under permisson from Nigel Stanford through Youtube.com
Print Prep
Activity Prep

The anchoring phenomenon for this unit is a music video by composer Nigel Stanford, that showcases a series of devices that make sound waves visible. Students generate observations and questions about the phenomenon and create an initial conceptual model to explain what is happening.

Preview activity

In the Unit Starter, students are introduced to the unit anchoring phenomenon, a music video by composer Nigel Stanford, that showcases a series of devices that make sound waves visible. In the activity, they create an initial conceptual model to explain how each device works. Students will re-visit their model after each Mystery to add new information to it.

It is important to encourage students to recognize that this activity is about making predictions to explain the phenomenon. They are going to learn a lot throughout the unit and have an opportunity to change or add to their first model.

Step 1: Plan Ahead

Before starting this lesson, review the unit Teacher Guide for an overview of the Waves of Sound Anchor Layer.

Set up your classroom by creating a class "See-Think-Wonder" chart (the student version is linked below). We recommend using chart paper, or a space on your board that won't be erased since you will revisit it throughout the unit.

Step 2: Print out worksheets Each student needs a:

Extensions
Download this Lesson to your device so you can play it offline: