Students often misinterpret the phrase 'sound goes'

Light, Sound and Waves


For example, thinking this means it disappears or moves away from one location in preference for another.

  • Sounds getting softer (5-11 and 11-14)

    Ref - SPT HS02 TL07  and  So01 TL08

    Typically pupils are quite happy to say that sounds get quieter as they travel farther away from the source and suggest they die away. Pupils are not concerned with accounting for where the initial motion (or energy) of the vibrating cone and medium ends up.

    View Resource


The following studies have documented this misconception:

  • Mazens, K. & Lautrey, J. () Conceptual change in physics: children’s naive representations of sound, Cognitive Development, 18,



    Review sheet

  • Eshach, H. & Schwartzb, J. L. () Sound Stuff? Naïve materialism in middle-school students’ conceptions of sound. International Journal of Science Education, 28 (7),


    Review sheet

  • Caleon, I., Subramaniam, R & Regaya, M. H. P. () Revisiting the bell–jar demonstration. Physics Education, 48 (2), Singapore.

    Review sheet

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