2: What does sound look like?

Sound is all around us. Take a guitar, a piano or a trombone. We can hear it, we can see the instrument, but can we actually see the sound it produces? If you could see sound, what would it look like? 

This video will help your students explore sound  and make creative connections between science, art and musicWe'd love to see what you come up with!

Filmed at Wonderlab: the Statoil Gallery at the Science Museum, London

These resources are hand-picked by the TES team

Ear Gongs - Science Museum STEM Activity

This activity from the Science Museum investigates how sound travels, using a kind of gong made from a coat hanger and some string. The gong makes a surprising and intriguing sound – but only when you have your fingers in your ears.

Learning Outcomes:

- Experience that sound is produced by vibrations and travels better through solids than gases
- Use observation and questioning skills
- Understand how sound travels through different materials has useful applications in our everyday lives

Curriculum Links:

KS2 Science: Sound

KS1 &2 Science: Working scientifically

By Science Museum Learning

Musical Art project

Music, art, poetry - with the idea that music has layers and textures as does art. I used many different genres of music with the idea that many composers fuse styles of music together as do some artists. The poetry was idea from Pie Corbett and it worked very well. Big thanks to Pie for kindly writing us a poem that inspired everyone so much!
By myrtle

Poor Man's Bagpipe

Music physics sound simple instrument, connections to higher physics
By aglaze

Hearing sounds

Briefly examine the structure of the ear and how vibrations are heard as sounds. Compare light and sound waves further. Discuss echoes and how bats or dolphins use echolocation. Talk about deafness and introduce children to British Sign Language.

Suitable for Y5 pupils.
By Hamilton Brookes

Seeing Sound

Certain sounds are described as high, such as those produced by a violin, or low, such as those produced by a tuba. A description of a sound as high or low is known as the pitch. The pitch of a sound depends on the number of waves produced in a given time. In this lesson plan, children begin to understand that sound travels in waves, is created by vibrations, and can create different pitches. Children will also investigate and explore how sound travels in waves. Later, they will further explore concepts of sound waves in their visit to the How Does It Work? exhibit.
By ChildrensMuseumOfHouston1

Sound and Waves Circus

A fabulous practical for the exploration of how sounds are made. A Powerpoint which can be printed and laminated to form an circus of mini-experiments so pupils can discover how sounds are produced. Detailed word document for recording their findings. Ideal for year 4 sound and can be adapted and extended for older pupils as well.
11 activities in the circus. Answers provided.
Covers the following areas:
• To identify how sounds are made, associating some of them with something vibrating
• To recognise that vibrations from sounds travel through a medium to the ear
• To observe and record what they see and hear at each station.
• To Find patterns between the pitch of the sound and features of the object that produced it
find patterns between the volume of a sound and the strength of the vibrations that produced it.
By R Dally

Sound and Waves Interactive Notebook

This interactive notebook uses cut and stick activities to help your class learn about sound and waves.

-Investigate …the sound waves produced by different musical instruments
-Describe … the loudness and frequency of each musical instrument
-Explain… how a sound is heard by the ear
-Apply…data to a chart of the hearing range of different animals
-Link… ideas about light and sound to thunder and lightning

By teachsmartuk

Slinkies and waves activity

Activity idea

In this activity, students model how sound travels by sending waves along two stretched plastic slinkies tied together.

By the end of this activity, students should be able to:
• understand that sound is a longitudinal wave where particles in the medium vibrate back and forth along the same direction as the wave travels
• see that a wave travels along as a series of compressions and expansions in the medium.
By doctorharves

Year 4 Science - Sound powerpoints, worksheet, planning and display pack

A set of resources to help children understand about sounds and how they are made. It follows the objectives of the 2014 curriculum.


LISTENING TO EVERYDAY SOUNDS: Twelve everyday sounds to listen to as an introduction to the topic
HOW WE HEAR: Explains how we hear and looks at different parts of the ear and what happens when sound enters it. It asks questions to encourage the children to think about sound and hearing.
WHAT ARE SOUNDS: Explains that sounds are vibrations, discussing how sounds are made and how vibrations travel through air and through solids. Discusses loud sounds, the effects of wind, and how light and sound travel at different speeds, giving examples.
PROPERTIES OF SOUNDS: Explains pitch and volume; how volume changes with distance but pitch does not unless the source of sound is moving. It ends with an activity to describe a selection of sounds.
THE VOLUME OF SOUNDS: Activity to listen to sounds and think about distance and volume.
MAKING SOUNDS: A look at different musical instruments and how they make sounds. Includes drums, piano, and guitar. Suggests different objects the children cound use to create different sounds.
SOUND - MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS: Pictures of different instruments for the children to look at and work out how they make sounds.


SOUND CONCEPT MAP: For the children to record what they already know and what they would like to find out
LISTENING TO SOUNDS SHEET: To use on listening activities
TOPIC COVER X 2: With 'Sound' title; one with a picture, the other without.


A4 Sound title
A-Z lettering, with Sound title, one letter per A4 page


A set of different sheets for investigations and recording

PLUS a medium term plan with activities and web links
By highwaystar

Exploring Sound (KS1/KS2)

This 18 page download covers the topic of Sound and Sound Waves.
Gives a colourful and interesting insight into the world around us.
Students will love these worksheets!


Sounds in School
Sounds indoors
Sounds outdoors
Pitch and intensity (hard / soft )
Animal Sounds
Sound Waves

Check out the preview!
By Polly Puddleduck

Science of Sound Unit 1st: Lesson Plans, Presentation, Experiments, & Assessment

This is an editable interdisciplinary unit on the Science of Sound Energy for 1st grade music and science (written from a music teacher’s perspective). This lesson plan and slide deck presentation compatible with PowerPoint & Google Slides™ will provide you all you need to teach a fun, engaging science of sound unit. This unit was written to meet the 1st grade science of sound curriculum in Georgia, but can be modified to meet the needs of other grade levels. This packet is wonderful for collaboration between music teachers and classroom teachers!

In this packet you will receive:

  • Detailed lesson plans for the Science of Sound ready to print, yet fully editable for your needs (Microsoft Word).
  • Engaging PowerPoint to lead your students through learning about the science of sound. There is a partially editable (text is editable) version and a version that is pre-formatted and ready to show right away. (Google Slides™ version available)
  • Interactive quizzes; take as a class or check the answers on the accompanying assessment papers.
  • Prema
  • Partner Sound Card Game - directions included.
  • Listening Walk Worksheet to go with the Listening Walk book.
  • Differentiated Sound Sorts (with both Soft and Quiet Terms) - Use as a center or as an assessment. (plus answer keys)
    —Sound Sort, Cut and Paste OR Color/Circle, for High/Low, Loud/Soft, Emergency/Non-Emergency
    ----Sound Label, Write in the correct label, Loud/Soft and High/Low
  • Guide for completing six experiments for the Science of Sound

The ready to print lesson plan and accompanying presentation cover the following topics:

  • What is vibration? How do instruments vibrate? How does our voice vibrate?

  • Quick look at the families of instruments. Make vibrations from paper.

  • Introductory look at sound waves - volume (amplitude) Introductory look at sound waves - pitch (frequency)

  • Original piggy back song to remember pitch vs volume. Comparison of Emergency sounds and what is an Emergency sound?

  • EXPERIMENTS: String Telephone, Box Guitar, Tuning Fork Fun, Jumping Rice, Ruler Vibrations, Hanger Bells

Additional materials needed to complete the lesson as written

  • The Listening Walk_ by Paul Showers. ISBN 9780064433228
  • Internet access to view videos online(SafeShare links provided!)
  • Samples of each family of instruments (optional)
  • Streamer wands
  • Printer
  • Storage boxes for materials
  • Glasses and food coloring
  • Various materials for experiments

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7 Questions

2: What does sound look like?