This is the Six Sounds in Search of an Author Project. The goals of this project is to teach students and educators how to create and mix audio for a podcast, as well as demonstrate how this technical skill can help students develop important 21st-century skills. 

If you can operate a word processing program and a tape recorder, you have 95% of the skills you will need to do audio editing.  Below is a tutorial designed specifically for this project.  Along with the technical skills, this project is an accessible and creative way to teach important 21st century skills.  Media scholar Henry Jenkins (2006) has identified the skills of appropriation, distributed cognition, play, and performance as fundamental to 21st century learning and life.

For this project, you must must create a one-minute story that includes 6 sound effects—a striking match, an engine roar, a beating heart, cricket chirps, a ringing phone, and a splash (download all six sounds here as a zipped file).  It's a challenge and opportunity to get creative within specific boundaries and rules. 


• You must use all of the sounds.

• You may use a sound more than once.
• You cannot use any other sound effects.
• You can manipulate the six sounds—i.e. trim them, add effects such as changing the pitch or speed.
• Your story must be a minute or less.
• It can be true life, drama, comedy, detective, romance, adventure, action, fantasy, horror, scifi...any genre you want.
• No profanity or use of personal information
• It can have characters and a narrator, just characters, or just a narrator.
• File must be submitted as a mp3.


Link to Download Audacity.

Six Sounds Tutorial

All sounds as one zipped file

Download the sounds individually 

Example 1: Drug-Free Detectives

Example 2: Camping Trip

It's rewarding and entertaining to do this as a part of community and see how different writers tell different stories with the same material and rules.  This project was done a contest for ISTE in 2009 and for NJAET in 2010.

After you've done this, if you'd like some variety and more of a challenge, click here for Six Sounds: The Sequel.








Clear and audible voice.

Unclear, low or distracting narration


Sounds Used Effectively

All six sounds used appropriately in the story.

Missing sounds or used inappropriately for story



Consistent story line and appropriate tone

Story incomplete or inconsistent



Audio levels and track mixing done relatively seamlessly

awkward, uneven, or inexplicable changes in sound or tracks



Here are more examples from K-12 students.

Work Cited

Jenkins, H. (2006). Confronting the challenges of participatory culture: Media education for the 21st century (Available Online at )