4-6 • Sound & Music

Note: Lesson Plan in MS Word format can be downloaded  below.

Created by: Carol Moran
Grade Level: 4-6
Target Disciplines: Science  and Technology

Title:  Sound & Music
Latest Revision Date: April 22, 2009

Targeted Grade Levels: 4-6

This is a short series of lesson that support and follow hands-on lessons on sound and music (for example, sound stations, making a sound sandwich with vibrating rubber bands, making panpipes with different sized tubes of vibrating air, making a rubber band guitar with vibrating rubber bands.) During these subsequent 2-3 lessons, students go to the kids’ section of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra site. They first learn about four groups of instruments:  percussion, brass, woodwinds and strings.  Students explore qualities and characteristics of various instruments in each group, including the vibrations that cause the sound, pitch, materials that affect timbre, and amplitude. The great depth of information on each instrument (as well as other music topics) provides a lot of opportunity for investigation and extension.   The technology also allows students to explore a wide range of music that would be impossible in a hands-on setting. Students finish by viewing and listening to instruments using found materials, then designing their own instrument.

Objectives:  Students will:
• Understand that vibrating objects produce a sound
Compare and contrast the characteristics of sound: loudness (amplitude), pitch and quality (timbre)
Use the internet to explore musical instruments

Essential Understandings, Concepts, and/or Questions: 
What is vibrating to create the sound?
How is the sound amplified?
How can you change the pitch?
How do different materials change the timbre (quality) of the sound?
How can you change the instrument in one way to make it unique and different (add something, remove something, change the size, change the materials, make a substitution).

Description of Activity:
Lesson #1:
1. Take students to the instrument storage room of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra website using the projector (www.nyphilkids.org/lockerroom/main.phtml). Show steps to get there (I put the website address on my website).
2.  Show how to navigate through the four rooms: percussion, brass, woodwinds and strings. Click on one instrument in the first room and show students how to access information. For each instrument, there is text about its function and history, the sound it produces, related instruments, and often additional interesting information. Choose one instrument and ask students, What is vibrating to make the sound?  How is the sound amplified? How does the player change the pitch? What materials are used and how do these affect the quality of the sound?
3. Students should then go to the site independently and complete the graphic organizer “Types of Musical Instruments” with three examples of each type, then answer questions about vibration, pitch and amplification below for each group of instruments.
4. On the graphic organizer, students should choose (highlight) one instrument from each room to explore during the next lesson. Share choices and reasons.

Lessons #2-3:
1. Review prior lesson and how to access site.
2. Students should work independently to complete Instrument Storage Room worksheet and identify what is vibrating to create the sound, how the sound is amplified, How the player changes the pitch, materials and interesting facts.
3. Students should work independently to complete Instrument Lab worksheet to develop a plan for a new instrument.
4. Share ideas with the class.

Resources Needed:  computers with internet access

Prior Learning Required: 

Students should have had exposure to real materials to explore vibrations, pitch, amplitude, and quality of sound.  This can be done in many ways; I use sound stations and activities where students make their own instruments.

Adaptations for Special Needs Students:
Students may complete fewer numbers on instruments on the graphic organizer.
Students who finish early may continue to explore the site: storage room, instrument lab, or game room (instrument frenzy, percussion showdown, music match instruments are games that best meet the objectives or do not need Macromedia Shockwave Player).

Teacher Notes, Reflections: 
This set of lessons nicely integrates music and sound at a time when many students are beginning an instrument for band so can be very meaningful and relevant. It is also high interest topic. Students develop creativity skills and can use ideas at the upcoming Invention Convention.

1. Explore other sound websites:
Dallas Symphony Orchestera: www.dsokids.com/2001/rooms/musicroom.asp
Playful Inventing & Exploring: www.pienetwork.org/ideas/
Peter Whitehead instrument builder, performer, and composer. His instruments feature unusual found materials: www.exploratorium.edu/music/movies/peterWhitehead_Low.html
2. Create a new instrument for the Invention Convention.
3. Make an instrument: www.exploratorium.edu/afterschool/activities/

State Standards Addressed: 
5.1 Sound and light are forms of energy
National Educational Technology Standards addressed:
1a. Students apply existing knowledge to generate new ideas, products or processes.
3d. Students process data and report results
6a. Students understand and use technology systems.

Marji Roy,
Jul 21, 2009, 3:57 PM
Marji Roy,
Jul 21, 2009, 3:58 PM
Marji Roy,
Jul 21, 2009, 3:58 PM
Marji Roy,
Jul 21, 2009, 3:58 PM