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
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.
- Do sound waves pass only through air? Explain your answer.
- Is sound loudness the same as sound intensity? Explain your answer by
citing a concrete example.
- What is the Doppler effect? How does it happen? Give an important use of
the Doppler effect.
- How is echo different from reverberation?
- Present in the form of a table the differences between (a) reflection, (b)
refraction, and (c) diffraction of sound waves.
- Why is resonance important to musical instruments?
- 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?
- 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?
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!