Classroom Activities

A Cup Of Sound

(Level: Elementary)

This activity demonstrates how different variables affect the pitch of the sound produced by a cup made from a variety of materials. It is an example of a “slip-stick” method of generating sounds.

File: Cup of Sound Activity (PDF, 143KB)

Thinking Inside the Box

(Level: Elementary, Middle, High School)

This is a hands-on inquiry activity that allows students to discover how scientists and researchers use sonar to explore the seafloor. Students and/or teachers build a model of the seafloor out of a copy paper box. Students will collect data from the model and organize it using grids and data tables by hand on paper and by computer with Excel. Students will use the data collected to create and build 2 and 3 dimensional topographical maps and graphs. All directions, patterns, grids and charts can be printed for this standards based activity. Note: You will need to print out the following files to complete this activity.

File 1: Box Directions (PDF, 142 KB)

File 2:Box Directions 2 (PDF, 133 KB) – for best results print out on 11 x 17 paper

File 3: Inside the Box Worksheet (PDF, 8 KB)

File 4: Inside the Box Elementary (PDF, 343 KB)

File 5: Inside the Box Middle-High (PDF, 329 KB)


(Level: Elementary, Middle, High School)

One method used to visualize sound is called a spectrogram. In this lesson, students will record sounds, then generate and analyze spectrograms.

File 1: Analyze Your Sound: Spectrogram – Elementary (PDF, 443 KB)

File 2: Analyze Your Sound: Spectrogram – Middle, High (PDF, 589KB)

Stirring up Sound

(Level: High School)

This activity explores how physical properties of water affects sound waves. Though an inquiry activity the affect of temperature on sound speed is demonstrated. The scattering of sound from dissolved particles and bubbles is also demonstrated.

File: Stirring up Sound Activity (PDF, 217 KB)

How to Build a Hydrophone

(Level: High School)

It was once thought that the ocean was a silent place. However, if you were to drop a hydrophone, or underwater microphone into the water, you would soon discover that the underwater world is quite noisy. A hydrophone picks up acoustic signals and then transfers the sounds into a receiver that allows you to hear them. Using the following instructions, you can build an inexpensive hydrophone. Use this hydrophone to hear sounds in an aquarium or local waterbody.

File: How to Build a Hydrophone Activity (PDF, 858 KB)