Scientifically Exploring Sound Vibration

We LOVE experiments!

The Magical Minds remembered the experiments from when last year’s third graders shared an exhibit on light and sound.  One of their favorites was an experiment with a tuning fork.
In this experiment a tuning fork is struck against a table, causing it to vibrate.  The vibrating tuning fork is then placed in a tub/bowl of water, which causes the water to splash.

Thus, on Monday I put all the supplies for this experiment on our inquiry table and let the kids play.

Cover of

Cover of Sound and Light (Hands on Science)

Next to the experiment, I strategically placed the book Sound and Light.  And, poking out from the book was a sticky note that said, “Another great experiment!”  While waiting his turn to play with the tuning fork, N discovered the book.  He opened it up and found an experiment that uses sound vibration to make sugar dance!

And what did he find right next to the book? All the materials he needed for the experiment! Immediately the class becomes distracted from the tuning fork, and focuses on N who is shouting at a can.  N has spread some plastic wrap over a can, using a rubber band to keep it tight.  On top he has sprinkled some iron fillings (we didn’t have sugar). Whenever he shouts near the can the iron fillings “dance.”  How? Good question.

After a day of simply letting the kids play with their experiments, I introduced the Scientific Method. First I modeled how to use the guide sheet (below) by going over our findings from the tuning fork experiment.

Wondering: Does a tuning fork vibrate?

Use Your Schema: A tuning fork makes a sound.  I have heard that sound vibrates.

Make a Plan: I am going to put a tuning fork in water to see if it makes the water move

Hypothesis: The tuning fork with make the water splash

tuning fork action   /    water action
don’t hit it                        water doesn’t move
hit hard                            big splash
hit softly                           small movement
hit medium                      small splash

Conclusions: The harder a tuning fork is struck, the stronger the vibration

After modeling how to use the scientific method, we then worked together to complete a guide sheet for the dancing sugar experiment.

Now that it seems like the Magical Minds have got the basics down, it’s time to send them off to try and use the scientific method on their own.

Next up – musical instruments and silencing an annoying timer.

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