Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Sounds You See, Hear, and Feel

Michele Dawn Manieri
Hillsborough County Schools


Students explore and experiment making sound wave vibrations on various musical instruments and common objects. The will also compare/contrast, demonstrate, and describe actions that cause sound wave vibrations which can be seen, heard, and/or felt.


The student understands how music is related to other subjects (e.g., how vibrations, which are studied in science, produce musical sounds).

The student knows that vibrations caused by sound waves can be felt (for example, on a speaker when music is played, the head of a drum when it is hit, or a tuning fork).


-Area for whole class activity or small group activity
-A variety of simple musical instruments, such as rhythm sticks, tone block/mallet, drum, triangle/striker, finger cymbals, cow bell/striker, maraca, shaker, stick jingles, jingle bells, wood block/mallet, small ukelele, etc.
-A variety of simple common science objects, such as pencil, pen, drinking glass, empty soda can, coin, large paper clip, key, small plastic container of water, small plastic covered container containing hard beans, etc.
-Large sheet or blanket to cover the collection of objects
-Overhead transparency of the attachment Classification Form (see Associated File)
-Overhead projector
-Printed copy of the Scaling Checklist (see Associated File)
-Transparency of Materials Care and Handling Rules (see Associated File)
-Note: There should be about four extra objects/ instruments over the number of students participating


1. Collect various musical instruments and science objects. Make sure to have representatives that produce sound waves that one can feel and hear and produce sound from various actions, such as pluck, strum, tap/hit, blow on, etc.
2. Set up collection display on carpet area or table. Cover items with sheet or blanket.
3. Have an overhead transparency made for Classification Form and Materials Care and Handling Rules (see Associated File) and an overhead projector.
4. Print out Scoring Checklist (see Associated File) and have it ready to document each studentís goal completion.


1. Either in small groups or with the whole class, ask students to remember and share on which instruments they have made sounds.

2. Ask students to tell of ways they have made sounds on common objects found in their environment. (Examples: at home, in nature, and at school.)

3. Discuss the various actions they do in order to make sounds on the instruments or other objects found in their environment. (Examples: pluck, hit/tap, and blow air.)

4. Uncover collection of items and facilitate the students to name each item.

5. Present transparency Materials Care and Handling Rules. (See Associated File concerning the DOs and DON'Ts for using the musical instruments and objects.)

6. Explain the directions for doing the activity. Students will experiment/explore doing various actions on musical instruments and science objects (items), in order to cause each to make sound. Tell the students you will use the magic word CHANGE when they should return one item to the collection area and select a next item. Allow about fifteen seconds per item for about five minutes. Teacher provides feedback to individual students during this time.

7. Re-focus the class or group. Transition into a sharing time for all. Hold each individual item up and refer to each item by name. Facilitate the students to take turns, explaining/ describing in their own words the acceptable action(s) to do in order to make sound on each of the instruments and objects.

8. Transition to the next part. Prepare the students that the teacher will fill in the Classification Form transparency (see Associated File), as the students work cooperatively to compare and contrast actions they did in order to make the instruments and objects sound. Teacher facilitates and intersperses feedback while filling out the overhead transparency chart.

9. Facilitate students to conclude that when they make the actions of tap/hit, pluck, strum, and shake, etc., on an instrument or object, something can be seen, felt, or heard.

10. Facilitate the students to deduct that their making an action on the instruments and objects causes something to happen and that causes or makes the instrument or object to sound.

11. Explain the principle in science and music: When an instrument or object is set in motion, by doing an action to it, the effect is that its tiny, unseen parts are shaking or vibrating and thus cause sound waves which can be seen, heard, and/or felt.


Evidence: Students will cause a variety of musical instruments and objects in science to make sound wave vibrations by the action(s) needed that can be seen, heard, and/or felt.

Criteria: Students will produce sound wave vibrations on one musical instrument and one science object by producing sound and explain for each how sound waves are caused by actions that can be seen, heard, and/or felt in vibrations. (Science Principle)

Scaling Checklist: Teacher will use this tool to check off yes or no on each studentís two answer lines (see Associated File):
(1.) Student played and explained how sound wave vibrations were caused and why sound wave vibrations were heard and felt on one musical instrument.
(2.) Student caused a science object to sound and explained how and why sound wave vibrations were seen, heard, and felt.


1. Students choose one instrument or object to hold. They take turns explaining/describing in their own words and demonstrating the actions, in order to make sound on that one instrument or object. Keep in mind, some items will produce sound from several actions.

2. Have the students summarize in their own words the science/music principle they have learned. For learning impaired students, teacher would modify the explanation goal or omit it in the expectations and assessment.

3. Plan another experimental/exploration time for the students to continue feeling and hearing sound wave vibrations on a variety of other instruments and objects. This could easily be made into a learning station or center activity or done in a whole class or small group settings.

For learning disabled students, modify or omit the requirement to explain the Scientific Principle of Vibration.
Return to the Beacon Lesson Plan Library.