Sound Wave
Light, Sound and Waves

Things you'll need to decide on as you plan: Quantifying and Using Sound

Teaching Guidance for 11-14 Supporting Physics Teaching

Bringing together two sets of constraints

Focusing on the learners:

Distinguishing–eliciting–connecting. How to:

  • keep amplitude and frequency separate, each with their own vocabulary
  • separate the to and fro movement of the particles that forms the vibration from the propagation of the vibration, which is also a movement
  • explore the range of hearing, along both the amplitude and frequency axes
  • connect human hearing to what other species can hear
  • ensure that the need for particles as a medium is always there
  • link each sound heard back to the source, via the medium

Teacher Tip: These are all related to findings about children's ideas from research. The teaching activities will provide some suggestions. So will colleagues, near and far.

Focusing on the physics:

Representing–noticing–recording. How to:

  • reinforce the source–medium–detector model
  • represent the vibrations of the source
  • represent the vibrations in the medium
  • represent the vibrations of the detector
  • account for reductions in intensity with distance from the source
  • link delays in hearing sounds to the trip time of propagation from the source
  • show sounds travelling through solids and liquids, as well as gases
  • measure the frequency of a sound
  • measure the amplitude of a sound

Teacher Tip: Connecting what is experienced with what is written and drawn is essential to making sense of the connections between the theoretical world of physics and the lived-in world of the children. Don't forget to exemplify this action.

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