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How Loud Is Loud?

How are sounds made? How is sound volume measured? Explore decibels and levels of loudness.

  • Grade 1
    Grade 2
  • 30 Minutes or Less
  • Directions

    1. Have students think of as many objects and creatures that make sounds as they can. Use Crayola® Crayons to draw their pictures on index cards. Draw one item on each card.
    2. Students combine their cards with classmates in a small group. Think of several ways to classify the pictures using different attributes (for example: country or city sounds; natural or created sounds; pleasing and harsh sounds). Sort the cards using one of these sets of attributes. Choose new categories and sort them again. Repeat until the cards are sorted by all of the categories.
    3. Students find out how scientists measure loudness. Share information about decibels and the equipment that measures them. If possible, measure the sounds of some of the items on the cards.
    4. Students gather as a group again. Decide whether sounds of the items on the cards are soft, medium, or loud. Rank order the sounds from softest to loudest.
  • Standards

    LA: Ask and answer such questions as who, what, where, when, why, and how to demonstrate understanding of key details in a text.

    LA: Use information gained from the illustrations and words in a print or digital text to demonstrate understanding of its characters, setting or plot.

    LA: Know and apply grade-level phonics and word analysis skills in decoding words.

    LA: Read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.

    LA: Participate in shared research and writing projects.

    LA: Tell a story or recount an experience with appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details, speaking audibly in coherent sentences.

    VA: Use visual structures of art to communicate ideas.

    VA: Select and use subject matter, symbols, and ideas to communicate meaning.

  • Adaptations

    Possible classroom resources include: Too Much Noise by Ann McGovern; The Listening Walk by Paul Showers; The Noisy Airplane Ride by Mike Downs; Mr. Brown Can Moo, Can You : Dr. Seuss's Book of Wonderful Noises by Dr. Seuss; Monkey with a Tool Belt and the Noisy Problem by Chris Monroe

    Working in small groups, students investigate how things vibrate to create sounds. Students may choose to experiment with rubber bands, drums, bells, and other familiar objects. Experiment with the human body. Instruct students to place their hands on their throats to talk or sing. What do they feel? How do you explain this?

    Students investigate how the human ear works. Students sketch the ear and label its parts. Students discuss what part each plays in allowing the human to hear. Students may also make a 3-D model of the inner ear using Crayola Model Magic.

    Invite the school's nurse to speak with the class about how to protect one's sense of hearing. Prior to the visit, students compose questions for the nurse. After the visit, students post their learning to a class blog or talk in small groups to review what they have learned.


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  • Creativity.
  • Capacity.
  • Collaboration.
  • Change.
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