Science of Sound

Barbara J. Feldman

The science of sound can be explored at many different levels, from grade school to college physics. Whether your interest is in making drums with first graders, or doing research for a physics project, this week’s site selections will deliver with animations, tutorials, activities and experiments that uncover the many facets of sound.

  • Explore Science: Wave Motion5 stars

    These eight interactive wave motion demonstrations for middle-school and high-school students are awesome. The first activity, Sound Beats, allows you to experiment with sounds that are very similar in frequency. Based on what you learn, can you determine the frequency of the mystery sounds? In Doppler Effect 1, you can watch sound waves originating from a moving source. You'll learn why a train whistle changes in pitch as it passes you and how sonic booms are created.

  • Physics Classroom: Waves, Sound and Light5 stars

    This collection of animations will help first-year physics students visualize and better understand the science of sound and light waves. You can step through the animations, following the menu on the left, or you can jump to the Physics Tutorials on "Waves" or "Sound Waves and Color." The tutorials are divided into lessons that include self-scoring quizzes. Can't find the answer to your homework problem? Questions can be posted in the homework help forum; look for the link on the About page.

  • School for Champions: Sound4 stars

    "Sound is a compression waveform that moves through air or other materials. Sound waves are created by the vibration of some object and are detected by causing a sensor to vibrate. Sound has the standard characteristics of any waveform." This one-page middle-school lesson introduces the concepts and vocabulary of sound (such as amplitude and wavelength) and concludes with a three-question quiz.

  • Sound Site5 stars

    Click on the bouncing ball (you'll hear it boing, boing, boing if you have QuickTime installed) to enter my pick-of-the-day site for elementary students. Created by the Science Museum of Minnesota, Sound Site is divided into four sections. Visit Activities for ten offline experiments, such as Making a Model Eardrum or Designing a Reed Instrument. Discussions is a collection of audio interviews about the art of composing music. Performance takes you behind the scenes of a Minnesota Orchestra premier. Soundcards are noise snippets you can share with friends via e-postcards.

  • The Soundry: The Physics of Sound4 stars

    The Soundry is an award-winning ThinkQuest Internet Challenge entry from 1998, created by three high-school students. To get the most from The Soundry, you'll need to familiarize yourself with their menu abbreviations used at the bottom of each page. Clicking on A will take you to page discussing Applications of the topic. P is for the Physics behind the topic. My favorite Soundry clicks are the Interactive explorations found at I.

  • Honorable Mentions

    The following links are either new discoveries or sites that didn't make it into my newspaper column because of space constraints. Enjoy!

    Cite This Page

  • Feldman, Barbara. "Science of Sound." Surfnetkids. Feldman Publishing. 6 Nov. 2002. Web. 12 Dec. 2014. < >.

  • About This Page

  • By . Originally published November 6, 2002. Last modified July 10, 2014.

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