• Shhhh! by Suzy Kline.
  • TV's One-Man Band by Mildred Pitts Walter.


    1. Sound is caused by vibrations in matter.

    2. Vibrations can travel through objects. In particular, they can travel through air (and thus reach our ears).

    3. The loudness of sound increases with the strength of the vibrations.

    4. The pitch of sound depends on the vibrating material and its size.

    Literature Tie-Ins:

  • Sounds by David Bennet (A Bantam Little Rooster Book, 1989, NF)
  • Noisy Nora by Rosemary Wells (Scholastic, 1973, F)
  • Noisy Poems by Jill Bennett (Oxford University Press, 1989, Poetry)

    by Suzy Kline (Albert Whitman & Co., 1984, F).

    A little girl is continually told by the adults in her world to SH!! Finally the SH-ing becomes too much for her. She goes outside and yells, screams, and makes all kinds of other noises before being quiet again.


    1. How are sounds produced? Have the children hold their hand on their larynx (throat) and say their name. Tell them that what they feel is a vibration. Ask the children to say the days of the week and months of the year, to growl, whisper, cough. Do all these sounds produce the same vibrations? Ask the children to describe the differences in the vibrations.

    2. Give each student a rubber band. Ask the students to produce a sound using only the rubber band.

    3. Have the children hold a rubber band tightly between the index fingers of both hands. They can rub their chin across the rubber band to produce a sound. What happens if they stretch the rubber band even more? What happens if they use a thicker rubber band? A thinner rubber band?

  • 4. Secure a ruler or tongue depressor on the edge of a desk with the palm of one hand while gently plucking the free edge of the ruler with the other hand. Change the length of the protruding part of the ruler. Ask the children to describe how this changes the sound.

    5. Strike a tuning fork with a rubber mallet or against your knee. (Never strike a tuning fork against a hard surface.) Place the prongs into a container of water. Ask the children to describe what they see.

    6. Make an oscilloscope. Cut the ends out of a soup can and cover the rims with tape for safety. Stretch a balloon over one end. Hold the balloon in place with a rubber band. Stick a small mirror onto the balloon with white craft glue. Allow this to dry overnight. Hold the open end of the can to your mouth and cup your hands around it. Talk into the can while a partner shines a flashlight on the mirror. Your voice will cause the balloon to vibrate, and this vibration will be enlarged in the reflection of light on the wall.

    7. Have the children look through magazines and cut out pictures showing objects that make sounds. Have them decide if they think each object makes a loud or quiet sound. They can glue each picture in the appropriate column of the reproducible worksheet. Encourage the children to share their worksheets, giving reasons for where they placed each object.

    Curriculum Crossovers:

    1. In a creative writing story, use some of the sounds the little girl made.

    2. Describe the quietest place you've ever been.

    3. Brainstorm things that do not make sounds.

    Take a Trip:

    Go on a sound walk on the school grounds. No talking, only listening to the sounds all around. When you return, divide the class into groups and have each group list the sounds they heard. Combine the lists. How can the sounds be grouped? (For example, into natural and human-made, loud and soft, short and long, etc.)

    Depending on where you live, a walk at different times of the year can give students the experience of different sounds, such as the rattle of dry leaves in the fall, the crunch of snow in winter, soft footsteps in spring, etc.