Listen! Listen! Listen!

Michele Beitel
Type Category
Instructional Materials
Lesson/Lesson Plan
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.



Listen! Listen! Listen! is a 5E introductory lesson for learning about sound.  It begins by introducing students to a phenomenon: there are many different sounds all around us, and then offers students the opportunity to share their observations and reflect on what they noticed.

Intended Audience

Educational Level
  • Grade 1
Access Restrictions

Free access with user action - The right to view and/or download material without financial barriers but users are required to register or experience some other low-barrier to use.

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 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
This is a useful resource if you’re looking for a unit introduction. This lesson could serve to set the purpose for a series of lessons by engaging students around an everyday phenomenon - the sounds that surround us. This is a useful introduction because the phenomenon would both ignite student curiosity and serve as a useful reference throughout a unit or series of lessons.

Science and Engineering Practices

This resource appears to be designed to build towards this science and engineering practice, though the resource developer has not explicitly stated so.

Comments about Including the Science and Engineering Practice
This is a helpful resource because it engages students in observing useful phenomena (sounds all around), which can serve as a great driving force and reference throughout the unit. However, in order to truly engage students in this Science and Engineering Practice, teachers should allow time for students to ask their questions about the phenomena they’ve observed. For example, in Stage Five: ‘Elaborate’ the teacher could work with the students to develop the class question, ‘What is sound?’. This way the students own the question, and the unit is driven by their curiosity.

Disciplinary Core Ideas

This resource was not designed to build towards this disciplinary core idea, but can be used to build towards it using the suggestions provided below.

Comments about Including the Disciplinary Core Idea
The purpose of this lesson is to introduce students to the phenomenon of the presence and variety of the sounds all around them. This phenomenon is worth investigating because it can be referenced throughout the course of study. As students learn more and more about sound, they can begin to answer their questions about the sounds they heard. Additionally, by referencing this introduction throughout their learning they can begin to uncover this disciplinary core idea to explain how sound works.

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
During this lesson students recognize patterns in the phenomena that they experienced (many different sounds). With teacher guidance, they categorize the sounds they experienced and use those ideas to develop an anchor chart. However, the lesson does not incorporate explicit supports for students to notice patterns. To highlight the importance and utility of patterns, teachers may choose to explicitly name and focus on the concept of ‘patterns’, especially when asking students to categorize their findings. An explicit focus on patterns would also be useful in working with students to develop questions about what they experienced.

Resource Quality

  • Alignment to the Dimensions of the NGSS: This lesson serves as a jumping off point for teachers looking to begin studying sound in the first grade classroom. It is focused around an instructionally productive phenomenon, and will serve as a useful reference throughout the unit. For this reason, Listen! Listen! Listen! also supports a coherent flow of instruction, wherein students can uncover ideas about the Disciplinary Core Ideas by following their own curiosity. While there are areas where the lesson can be further developed for alignment (i.e. supporting student questioning and leveraging patterns explicitly) this lesson can serve as a helpful introduction with only minor changes.

  • Instructional Supports: The experiential nature of this phenomenon makes it not only relevant and engaging, but also highly accessible. Additionally, the design of the lesson allows for a high degree of differentiation: students at all levels can share their ideas on the anchor chart at their own instructional or language development level. While these opportunities are not explicit in the lesson, the design allows for teachers to make appropriate accommodations or modifications for successful interaction with the concepts.

  • Monitoring Student Progress: Another strength of this lesson is the degree to which formative assessment is embedded-for example in Stage 4: ‘Explain’ the author describes using student sharing as a means to informally assess initial understanding. However, the assessment criteria in Stage 6: ‘Evaluation’ may need to be revisited to ensure alignment. In the lesson, assessment is focused on creating a detailed, accurate representation of the appearance of what students observed. To more closely align the assessment to the objectives of the Performance Expectation, teachers may elect to ask students to try to illustrate where they think the sound was coming from. This will focus students’ attention on the source of the sound, and lead to a more coherent flow of instruction as students dive into the Disciplinary Core Ideas of this Performance Expectation (1-PS4-1).

  • Quality of Technological Interactivity: N/A