Teaching with the Web:
A Collection of Online Treasure Hunts and Webquests


Sound Waves: An Online Treasure Hunt for 4th Year High School (Science)

Authored by C. Cabarloc, E. Castro, F. Mallorca, and P. Arinto

Sound is all around us. We hear it and we can feel its vibrations. But we can't see it. To determine its properties, we have to use various instruments and apparatuses.

The physics of sounds and sound waves is an exciting area for exploration. In this activity, you will explore sound waves and their interesting details. After doing this activity, you should be able to discuss the nature of sound waves as an energy carrier, explain how we hear sound, and describe how sound is produced by musical instruments.

You will work in groups of three. Read the questions below and find the answers in the online resources listed. Write down your answers and be ready to discuss them with the rest of the class. After you have answered all of the questions, work on the Big Question.

  1. Do sound waves pass only through air? Explain your answer.
  2. Is sound loudness the same as sound intensity? Explain your answer by citing a concrete example.
  3. What is the Doppler effect? How does it happen? Give an important use of the Doppler effect.
  4. How is echo different from reverberation?
  5. Present in the form of a table the differences between (a) reflection, (b) refraction, and (c) diffraction of sound waves.
  6. Why is resonance important to musical instruments?
  7. Ultrasound is the term for sound that is of such a high frequency that it can no longer be heard by human beings. It also refers to a technique for transforming sound to images. What is the role of reflection in this process?
  8. What is the name of the branch of physics that has to do with the study of sound and mechanical waves in various phases of matter?

Sounds good



Sound waves

Reflection, refraction, and diffraction of sound waves


The Doppler Effect

The human ear

The Big Question
Still working as a group, produce a “sound play”, or a short skit communicated entirely through sounds except for the human voice. You may record real sounds (for example, the chirping of a bird, the barking of a dog) or produce the sounds using materials such as paper, leaves, sticks, and the like.

Be sure that the arrangement of the sounds suggests a story (that's why this is called a “play” or “skit”). Record your sound play on audio tape. Submit the tape one week from today.

Happy sounding off!