Outstanding Science | Primary Science Resources for the National Curriculum

Primary Science Resources for the National Curriculum

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KS2 - Year 4 Sound

Learning objective

I can explain how sounds are made and how we hear things.

Children learn that sounds are caused by vibrations. They learn that sounds travel from an object, through a medium (usually the air), travel into the ear where they are carried down the ear canal and processed by the brain. Children complete an explanation text explaining how we hear things, by cutting and pasting or writing their own descriptions.

  • 4d1: identify how sounds are made, associating some of them with something vibrating
Sounds are caused by vibrations.
A vibration is a rapid movement back and forth.
We hear sound because sound waves travel through the air to our ear.
The outer ear funnels the sound down the ear canal.
The middle ear contains the hammer, anvil and stirrup bones which vibrate and transmit the sound to the inner ear.
The cochlea in the inner ear creates electrical signals based on the sound.
The signals travel down the auditory nerve to the brain, which experiences the sound.
Year 4 Sound | Outstanding Science

Sound insulation Investigation

Outstanding Science Year 4 | Sound | OS4D002

Learning objective

I can investigate how well sound travels through different materials.

Children investigate how effective 5 different materials are at blocking sound. Recognising the difficulty of accurately measuring the loudness of a sound, they make each measurement 3 times and choose the median. Children use their results to create a bar chart and place the materials in order of effectiveness as sound insulators.

  • 4d2: recognise that vibrations from sounds travel through a medium to the ear
A material that is good at blocking sound is called a sound insulator.
Some materials are better sound insulators than others.
It is difficult for a person to measure the loudness of a sound without special equipment.
Year 4 Sound | Outstanding Science

Investigating pitch Investigation

Outstanding Science Year 4 | Sound | OS4D003

Learning objective

I can place different sounds in order of pitch.

Children learn about the difference between pitch and volume. They carry out an investigation where they place 5 different water containers in order, depending on the pitch made when air is gently blown across the top of each. They attempt to find a pattern and explain their results.

  • 4d3: find patterns between the pitch of a sound and features of the object that produced it
Pitch and volume are independent properties of a sound.
Year 4 Sound | Outstanding Science

Making a string instrument Investigation

Outstanding Science Year 4 | Sound | OS4D004

Learning objective

I can make a tuned string instrument.

Children explore how a string instrument makes a sound. Using an ice cream tub, elastic bands, and Lego blocks, they create their own string instrument. They explore how adding more Lego blocks affects the pitch of each string (band).

  • 4d3: find patterns between the pitch of a sound and features of the object that produced it
Increasing the tension of a string increases the pitch of the sound it produces when plucked.
Year 4 Sound | Outstanding Science

Pitch and volume Investigation

Outstanding Science Year 4 | Sound | OS4D005

Learning objective

I can place sounds in order of pitch and volume.

Children learn that pitch and volume are two different properties of sounds. Children investigate the pitch and volume of the sound made when 5 different balls are dropped. Recognising the difficulty of measuring pitch and volume without equipment, children make 5 measurements and then choose the modal value. Children transfer their results to a scatter graph showing both pitch and volume.

  • 4d4: find patterns between the volume of a sound and the strength of the vibrations that produced it
Sounds can have different combinations of pitch and volume.
The result that appears most often in a set is called the mode.
Year 4 Sound | Outstanding Science

Investigating volume Investigation

Outstanding Science Year 4 | Sound | OS4D006

Learning objective

I can investigate how to affect the volume of a percussion instrument.

Children investigate how dropping a weight from different heights ont a drum affects the volume of the sound produced. Recognising the difficulty of measuring volume without equipment, children take each measurement 5 times and find the mean. Children create a line graph showing their results and attempt to explain the relationship between the height of the weight and the volume of the sound made.

  • 4d4: find patterns between the volume of a sound and the strength of the vibrations that produced it
The volume of the sound produced by a percussion instrument is affected by how hard it is struck.
The mean is a form of average and can be calculated by dividing the sum of all results in a set by the number of results.
A line graph can be used to show the relationship between two continuous properties.
Year 4 Sound | Outstanding Science

Sound and distance Investigation

Outstanding Science Year 4 | Sound | OS4D007

Learning objective

I can investigate how distance affects how well we can hear a sound.

Working on the yard or in the school hall, children investigate the maximum distance at which somebody can hear one of 5 body sounds (hand clap, sniff, cough, foot stamp and thigh slap). They place each sound in order of loudness and create a bar chart showing their results. They discuss the difficulty of getting accurate results without measuring equipment and ways of improving the investigation.

  • 4d5: recognise that sounds get fainter as the distance from the sound source increases.
The perceived volume of a sound is affected by its distance.
Year 4 Sound | Outstanding Science

Distance and volume Investigation

Outstanding Science Year 4 | Sound | OS4D008

Learning objective

I can investigate the relationship between distance and volume.

Working on the school yard, children investigate the height a ball needs to be dropped from in order to be heard at different distances. Children predict and then measure the minimum height required, recording their results in a table. They create a line graph and explore the link between the distance and the miniumum height (and therefore volume) required.

  • 4d5: recognise that sounds get fainter as the distance from the sound source increases.
If a sound is made louder, it can be heard from further away.
Year 4 Sound | Outstanding Science