Investigating Sound

BetterLesson Inc Kathryn Yablonski
Type Category
Instructional Materials
Lesson/Lesson Plan , Activity
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.



This is #4 of a nine lesson unit about sound. Students will be investigating sound stations to provide evidence that sound makes vibrations and that those vibrations make sound.

Intended Audience

Educator and learner
Educational Level
  • Early Elementary
Access Restrictions

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

Performance Expectations

1-PS4-1 Plan and conduct investigations to provide evidence that vibrating materials can make sound and that sound can make materials vibrate.

Clarification Statement: Examples of vibrating materials that make sound could include tuning forks and plucking a stretched string. Examples of how sound can make matter vibrate could include holding a piece of paper near a speaker making sound and holding an object near a vibrating tuning fork.

Assessment Boundary: none

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

Comments about Including the Performance Expectation
Give students plenty of time to individually investigate the sound stations. In the lesson it says to give students 5 minutes per station, but if there are many students at a station, more time may be needed.

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
When the group shares the data from their recording sheets make sure all students have a chance to contribute to the KLEWS chart. This will help provide evidence in answer to the questions about sound making vibrations and vibrations making sound.

Disciplinary Core Ideas

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this disciplinary core idea.

Comments about Including the Disciplinary Core Idea
Challenge students to think of other materials that vibrate to make sound or sounds that make matter vibrate. They could illustrate and label this in their science journal or on the back of their recording sheet.

Crosscutting Concepts

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this crosscutting concept.

Comments about Including the Crosscutting Concept
After the completion of the lesson place the sound station materials in a science center so students can explore them for several weeks.

Resource Quality

  • Alignment to the Dimensions of the NGSS: In this lesson student questions and prior experiences related to sound motivate sense-making and problem solving. By exploring the sound stations and keeping data, the elements of the performance expectation, practice, core idea and crosscutting concept are integrated.

  • Instructional Supports: The lesson provides opportunities for students to express, justify, interpret, and represent their ideas about sound and vibrations when responding to the teacher orally and in written form on the recording sheets. The pictures provided on the recording sheet and KLEWS chart are helpful for students who might need that support. The video clips in the lesson plan about the stations and room set, along with student samples of recording sheets and the KLEWS are excellent.

  • Monitoring Student Progress: The resource provides a KLEWS chart and recording sheets for formative assessment. The lesson assesses student proficiency using vocabulary, representations (vibration and sound symbols) that are accessible and unbiased for all students.

  • Quality of Technological Interactivity: There is a video of a car radio vibrating the mirror on the car which would be a reinforcement of the concept of sound vibrating matter.