Listening Devices (Energy Transfer with Sound)

Contributor
The Tech Museum of Innovation
Type Category
Instructional Materials
Types
Lesson/Lesson Plan
Note
This resource, vetted by NSTA curators, is provided to teachers along with suggested modifications to make it more in line with the vision of the NGSS. While not considered to be “fully aligned,” the resources and expert recommendations provide teachers with concrete examples and expert guidance using the EQuIP rubric to adapted existing resources. Read more here.

Reviews

Description

In this lesson, students use the engineering design process to solve a problem. They have to figure out how to design a device that will enable them to listen to a mystery sound that is being made by a device hidden in an insulated box. Through this process, they determine which materials and designs are best to transfer sound energy. At the end of the lesson, students demonstrate their devices and explain their design strategies to the rest of the class.

Intended Audience

Educator
Educational Level
  • Grade 5
  • Grade 4
Language
English
Access Restrictions

Free access - The right to view and/or download material without financial, registration, or excessive advertising barriers.

Performance Expectations

3-5-ETS1-2 Generate and compare multiple possible solutions to a problem based on how well each is likely to meet the criteria and constraints of the problem.

Clarification Statement: none

Assessment Boundary: none

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this performance expectation.

Comments about Including the Performance Expectation
To allow adequate time for designing and testing, students should be allowed significantly more than the 15 minutes suggested in the lesson plan. This will allow students to test and improve more than two times. After students design and test prototypes of their listening devices, they share and explain their designs to the whole group. The teacher can then facilitate a discussion focusing on which designs best solved the problem and why (highlighting the effect that materials and designs had on energy transfer).

4-PS3-2 Make observations to provide evidence that energy can be transferred from place to place by sound, light, heat, and electric currents.

Clarification Statement: none

Assessment Boundary: Assessment does not include quantitative measurements of energy.

This resource appears to be designed to build towards this performance expectation, though the resource developer has not explicitly stated so.

Comments about Including the Performance Expectation
The teacher will need to help students highlight the idea that energy is being transferred. As students work through the challenge, they should be asked to make observations about where the sound is coming from, where it is going, and how it is getting there. They can also think about and discuss the effect their designs have on energy transfer.

Science and Engineering Practices

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this science and engineering practice.

Comments about Including the Science and Engineering Practice
This lesson encourages each group to develop different ways to solve the problem of building a listening device. They also share their design strategies with other groups. To better meet this practice, students should be encouraged to compare devices.

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this science and engineering practice.

Comments about Including the Science and Engineering Practice
Rather than saving the guiding questions for the final discussion, as indicated in the lesson plan, the teacher may want to discuss them with individual engineering teams. For example, asking, “What is the best shape and size for the part that goes against the box?” could guide students to compare different solutions to the problem while designing and testing.

Disciplinary Core Ideas

This resource appears to be designed to build towards this disciplinary core idea, though the resource developer has not explicitly stated so.

Comments about Including the Disciplinary Core Idea
Throughout the lesson, students communicate with peers as they work through the design process and try to improve their devices. The teacher can explicitly highlight the importance of communication when solving problems and encourage students to learn from and build off the ideas of others.

This resource appears to be designed to build towards this disciplinary core idea, though the resource developer has not explicitly stated so.

Comments about Including the Disciplinary Core Idea
The design challenge of this lesson is: “Can you design a device that will allow the detective hear the clue?” Adding the idea of transferring energy with sound will more explicitly address the disciplinary core idea. For example, the teacher might ask: “How can you design a device that will best transfer the sound inside the box to the detective’s ear one foot (30 cm) away?”

Crosscutting Concepts

This resource appears to be designed to build towards this crosscutting concept, though the resource developer has not explicitly stated so.

Comments about Including the Crosscutting Concept
As noted above, the goal of this design challenge is to transfer energy, but the teacher will need to highlight that concept for the students.

Resource Quality

  • Alignment to the Dimensions of the NGSS: This lesson plan engages students with a fictitious, but plausible, real-world problem. At the end of the lesson, students learn about and explore stethoscopes, another real-world device used to transfer sound. Three dimensional learning is evident in this lesson. Engineering and physical science disciplinary core ideas are woven together as students attempt to use their ideas about the crosscutting concept of energy transfer to explain how and why their devices worked (or didn’t work). They use engineering practices as they design and test models to find which is most successful.

  • Instructional Supports: This lesson includes an engaging hook, and opportunities for students to share and revise their thinking. Additional time should be given to allow testing and redesign to optimize the devices. Explicit supports are not included for struggling students, however the lesson should be accessible to most students.

  • Monitoring Student Progress: The lesson includes guiding questions which the teacher may use as students present their final projects. As a summative assessment, students could be asked to draw a model to describe how energy is transferred in their testing setup.

  • Quality of Technological Interactivity: This resource does not include a technologically interactive component.