Sounds Around Us a two-Way Science Learning Unit for Beaufort-Delta & Old Crow Elementary Students



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Sounds Around Us
A Two-Way Science Learning Unit for Beaufort-Delta & Old Crow Elementary Students

University of Manitoba

Centre for Research, Youth, Science Teaching and Learning

April 2007




Table of Contents

Topic Page


Guiding Principles of the Unit 3
Cross-Curricular Applications 4
Conceptual Framework 5
Skills Development 7
Attitudes and Beliefs Development 8
Curriculum Applications 9

Things to Consider in Preparing to Teach the Unit 10


About the Activities 11
Activities 12
Conceptual Knowledge Background 57

References 65


Appendices 66

Guiding Principles of the Unit



  • Provide two-way learning experiences by integrating Inuit knowledge, ways of knowing, beliefs and values and contemporary scientific knowledge, processes and attitudes.

  • Draw upon traditional and contemporary cultural examples as contexts for student learning.

  • Include the local community and its people in students’ learning opportunities as the classroom is an extension of the school and local community

  • Foster language development in Gwichin, Metis and Inuvialuit and, where required or encouraged, English.

  • Use diagnostic and formative assessment to inform planning and teaching and monitor student learning.

  • Engage students by starting lessons by providing first-hand experiences for students or drawing upon common experience.

  • Deliberately promote scientific attitudes of mind (curiosity, problem-solving, working to end) student through thoughtful independent consideration of questions and challenges posed.

  • Move from the experiential, first-hand experiences to the psychological; that is, after providing concrete experiences assist students in making sense of experiences by using purposeful strategies to promote understanding such as role plays, illustrations and analogies.

  • Assist students in their consolidation of ideas only as an extension of the initial experiential and psychological learning experiences.

  • Within the lesson and throughout the unit, move from concrete to more abstract ideas.

  • Provide opportunities for student-initiated and directed investigations.

  • Provide opportunity for students to make connections among science and all other learning areas.

  • Foster student independence, creativity and curiosity by providing opportunity for students’ ideas and questions and follow-up opportunities for problem-solving and investigation.

  • Provide students the opportunity to make connections between what they are learning and career opportunities.



Cross-Curricular Applications

This unit is developed with an emphasis on developing oral and written language skills within the context of sound. The activities that are recommended encourage student expression of their experience in written, visual and oral form.


The unit has strong connections to appreciating the importance and diversity of sounds we experience within the western Arctic, both within a historical and contemporary context. Students are encouraged to consider how sounds within our immediate world have changed, informed and improved the quality of our life, and supported our very survival. The emphasis on sound within a societal context is inextricably linked to our understanding of sound as a science phenomenon.
Students are encouraged to explore the variety of sounds within their immediate context, especially with the assistance of persons within the community who have experience and expertise in the suggested activities, both in traditional and contemporary knowledge. Natural phenomena, sound-making and sensing of animals, hunting, singing and drum dancing, and communication technologies are only some areas that students can develop a rich understanding of sound and greater sense of their own language and culture.
There are obvious connections to personal health and well-being. Teachers are encouraged to make reference to healthy lifestyle and how hearing can become impaired especially using the experience of health professionals within the community. The activities suggested are starting points. Broaden the focus by adding stories and activities of your own or from the experiential base of your community.

Conceptual Ideas and Progression

The recommended sequence for supporting student conceptual development of the phenomenon of sound is suggested below. For the most part, the activities and the conceptual and skill development embedded within the activities is sequential. Lower elementary experiences and ideas primarily focus on experiencing and communicating these experiences. Upper elementary experiences focus on understanding and investigating these experiences and appreciating applications of this understanding to their students’ everyday world. It is suggested teachers address the following key ideas:


Lower Elementary (Grades 1-3):


  • There are sounds all around us.

  • The sounds we hear have names.

  • The sounds in and around our community often change from location to location, hour to hour, day to day and season to season and year to year.

  • Sounds vary in many ways and these characteristics of sounds allow us to describe and categorize sounds.

  • Some of the natural and mechanical sounds we hear are very important to people of the western arctic.

  • For sounds to be made there needs to be something moving.

  • Sound travels outwards from its source.

  • Sounds are detected by our ears and interpreted in our brain.

Upper Elementary (Grades 4-6)




  • We can measure sound.

  • Pitch and volume are important characteristics of sound.

  • Some sounds are not audible because of their volume or frequency.

  • Sound travels as a wave through solids and liquids better than through air.

  • Sound travels better through denser objects.

  • Some materials are better conductors of sounds than others

  • Some materials reflect sound; some materials absorb sound.

  • The larger the energy of the vibrating object, the larger the volume (amplitude).

  • The more frequent the number of vibrations the higher the frequency (pitch) of the sound.

  • There are a variety of ways we make effort to change pitch and volume of sounds.

  • If we can concentrate or collect sound waves we can amplify sound.

  • Sounds and the way sounds are communicated in our community have changed.

  • We make use of technologies associated with sound.

  • We can communicate without sounds.

  • Our hearing can be damaged.

  • Animals can hear and create sounds.

  • Sounds that we make can be combined to make music.


Skills Development

This unit emphasizes that the learning of science ideas is inextricably linked to the development of the processes of science. As asserted by the Northwest Territories Elementary Science Primary Program Guide, the legislated curriculum for Northwest Territories schools, science experiences should provide opportunity for the development of conceptual understanding within the context of relevant investigative experiences. Although individual scientific process skills may be emphasized in specific activities, they are to be supported more holistically in teacher-facilitated or student-directed inquiry.


The skills to be developed are expected to be appropriate to the level of the learner. These skills and a typical developmental sequence are outlined in detail in the NWT Primary Program Guide. Attention is given to providing students with first-hand experiences that promote skills such as:
Observing Communicating

Classifying Measuring

Predicting Planning Investigations

Inferring Interpreting Information

Recording Formulating Investigative Questions
These skills involve coordination between cognitive and muscular skills, often referred to as psychomotor skills. Handling and manipulating equipment require not just the physical ability to perform a task but also the intellect to know how to measure or observe accurately. It is anticipated that by the end of upper elementary a student might be able to, with assistance, conduct a scientific investigation. This unit provides opportunities for students to work physically and cognitively towards this end.

Attitudes and Beliefs Development

An explicit goal in the development of this resource and the other resources being developed in this Beaufort-Delta & Old Crow project and the accompanying professional development provided for teachers is to use these as a vehicle to contribute to student ‘success’ in science. Although success in science is often attributed to measurable outcomes such as knowledge acquisition and development, the intent of this development project is much more encompassing. It extends this notion of success to investigate the influence of ‘two-way’ learning experiences on students’ perceptions of success in their personal attitudes and beliefs.


What does success in science mean to students of this region? It is anticipated that students will experience success in a variety of ways, beyond the border of knowledge into the domain of attitudes and beliefs. Attitudes are regarded as states of mind, behavior or conduct regarding some matter, as indicating opinion or purpose. The program of study suggested in the activities that follow will foster student curiosity and creativity, and openness to new ideas of thinking. As well students will develop confidence in their perceptions of self as students of science. Similarly they will develop confidence as evidenced in risk-taking and their effort to conduct science investigations. Their participation in the processes of science will foster their perseverance, precision and objectivity in solving scientific problems. As members of a team they will develop in their respect for and ability to work co-operatively towards purposeful goals with their peers.
Above all, it is anticipated that students will develop a more positive sense of themselves in contemporary society as they learn about the inextricable link between science and the world in which they live. It is anticipated that students will see science as part of their life trajectory both in future formal and informal settings as a result of science study that advocates ‘two-way’ learning.

Curriculum Applications

In this context, the conceptual knowledge base and essential skills identified by these curricula are paired with Inuvialuit and Gwichin cultural values, beliefs, and heritage to become the cornerstone of the learning provided in this unit. Both the Pan-Canadian and NWT curriculum address the concept of Sound at Kindergarten, Grade 1 and Grade 4. Consequently, this unit addresses both lower and upper elementary learning objectives. It is suggested that teachers of Grade 4 use many of the Grade 1 (Lower Elementary) introductory activities as starting points for the Grade 4 learning objectives. The specific learning outcomes for the NWT Curriculum and Pan-Canadian Curriculum are not detailed here.


The General Learning Outcomes for both these levels include: Students will learn through investigations how sounds differ, how sound is created, how it travels and is influenced in its travels, and how it is sensed and measured.
Lower Elementary:


  • Name senses and describe characteristics of the senses (hearing).

  • Plan investigations to interpret and distinguish between various items.

Upper Elementary:




  • Demonstrate an understanding of the characteristics and properties of sound as they travel through a substance.

  • Investigate different ways in which sound is produced and transmitted and make devices that can use this form of energy.

  • Identify technological innovations related to sound and determine how our quality of life has been affected by these innovations.



Things to Consider in Preparing to Teach the Unit:

In order for you to foster the development of the conceptual knowledge base and essential skills paired with Inuit cultural values, beliefs, and heritage in this unit give consideration to the following:


Your students’ capabilities and interests:


  • What will be the language of instruction? If the language of instruction is English, how can you include and affirm Gwichin and Inuvialuit in your instruction?

  • Will students be keeping a written learning log? Again, will it include and affirm these languages?

  • What contexts suggested are likely to be of most interest and relevance to your students?

  • Should the investigations suggested be teacher- or student-directed?


Your capabilities and interests:


  • Consider the conceptual knowledge base, essential skills and local cultural values, beliefs, and heritage affirmed by this unit. Where will you find the teaching challenging?




  • What personal experiences, knowledge and skills can you bring to this unit? The unit provides opportunity for your strengths to be incorporated into the unit


The capabilities and interests of your teaching context:
This resource has been developed with consideration for the Beaufort-Delta and Old Crow regions and its students. How can you work collaboratively with the school community to see the intentions of the unit a reality? Who are the individuals that can assist in ensuring local cultural knowledge is incorporated into this unit.
About the Activities


Select a Starting Point:
Although a sequence of instruction has been provided for this unit of study your starting point will be a reflection of your students’ backgrounds and interests. Upper elementary teachers are encouraged to start with the lower elementary activities.
Select Knowledge, Beliefs & Values to Develop:
Again consider the interests of your students especially in terms of their cultural background.
Select Appropriate Skills to Develop:
Consider the investigative abilities of your students. What investigative skills are most appropriate for your students? The investigations suggested could either be teacher-facilitated or student-directed depending on the capabilities of your students. What is most appropriate?
Develop an Instructional Sequence:

Use the information provided in previous sections of this resource to assist in developing a coherent instructional sequence. The list of activities is only a suggestion of what might be addressed. Focus on the General Learning Outcome: Students will learn through investigations how sounds differ, how sound is created, how it travels and is influenced in its travels, and how it is sensed and measured.


Activities

Lower Elementary: Grades K-3


There are sounds all around us
What You Do


  • There is a lovely story in the Appendix that relates to an elders story about “Hearing Lice”! You might wish by sharing this story with children as a started activity getting them to illustrate the experience.




  • Have students sit quietly and listen for sounds. After the initial minute of the ‘sound search’, ask students to identify the sounds they have heard. List these sounds on a ‘sound board’ or in their journal. Repeat but this time open the classroom door and have students again listen for sounds but to consider sounds they can hear that may be coming from within their body or from outside the classroom.




  • Again list these sounds on the ‘sound board’.




  • Are there reasons why some students hear some sounds and others do not? Are these related to how well we hear or our location in the room and how close we are to the sound?


What You Look For
The following questions should assist you in formatively assessing student learning. As well they might guide the entries students might make into their science journals.


  • Can students detect and identify sounds?

  • Can they orally express the name of the sound?

  • Are there some sounds heard by some and not by others?

  • Can they suggest reasons why one person may hear a sound and others do not?


Hearing Lice: The following story is an adaptation of an interview with George A. Kappianaq. The story described involves carrying caribou, an experience many elders have had.
My older brother, father and I were hunting by foot along the coast away from our dogs and sled. My father killed a caribou and we had to back pack the meat to our sled and it was a long ways to carry the meat. My father and brother were going to carry most of the meat by had to carry some too. My father told me to back pack the rump of the caribou. It was heavy and I was concerned I might not be able to carry it. My father made a head band from a sack to lighten my burden. I could lessen the load by tying a rope to the rump on both sides and then running the rope to the head band across my forehead. My brother knew the caribou was heavy I would get tired and lag behind. He told me there were lice on the caribou and they would get on the hair of my head if I carried the caribou rump too slowly. I was determined to go fast. Even though I was determined to go fast the caribou was heavy on my back and head and I did carry the caribou slowly. I stopped many times. I was getting further and further behind and I was discouraged. I decided to tighten the head band and start again. By this time I came to view of my older brother and father and they had already reached the sled. I pressed on. I started to hear sounds of lice cracking from my auxiliary band! The lice were now crawling from the caribou and getting under the headband and into my hair. They were being squashed from the pressure of the auxiliary head band. I was certain that the head lice were being crushed as my burden was heavy and the head band was under a lot of pressure on my head. I started to run really fast to make the lice stay on the caribou like my brother said. I made it very quickly to the sled after this began to happen. When I went to the sled I announced to my brother and father that the lice might all be crushed from the pressure and that because I went fast the lice stayed on the caribou. My older brother really laughed at me. He asked me to repeat what I had told him to my father. My father thought this was hilarious. What happened was that some of the woven twines on the head band were snapping from the pressure of the caribou. There were no lice! My father told me not to be embarrassed because he had played the same trick on my older brother when he was younger.
The sounds we hear have names
What You Need
A ‘Sound Box’ that has various objects in that can make a sound (a whistle, a glass object, a metal object, a few musical instruments, Velcro, etc.).
What You Do


  • Building on the last activity, get students to make ‘body’ sounds. Ask them to make sounds with their feet: stomping, tapping, shuffling; hands: snapping, clapping, slapping, clicking of fingers; mouth: whispering, sighing, blowing, whistling, singing a note, scream, humming, laughing, barking, whining, whimpering, crying, giggling. Again, list these sounds on a sound board or in their journal.




  • Have students close their eyes. As they do, make a variety of sounds either with your body or from the sound box. Have students identify the sounds.




  • Have students think about sounds they might be able to make within the room. Give them a few minutes to consider and prepare quietly for making these sounds for their classmates. Get them to make these sounds as their classmates it quietly with their eyes closed and identify the sounds made.




  • Again, list these sounds on a sound board or in their journal.



What You Look For
The following questions should assist you in formatively assessing student learning. As well they might guide the entries students might make into their science journals.


  • Can students create the sound identified?

  • Can students identify the sound created?

  • Can they orally express the name of the sound?

The Sounds of Geese: This story is an adaptation of a story told by Thomas Selamio and one many people have experienced in the western arctic.
When I was a young boy I remember listening to my father calling birds when we were hunting near Blow River on the coast. I didn’t think he was calling birds. It was more like he was just trying to mimic or copy the birds. He would hear a bird calling and then he would call back at the bird with the same call he had heard. It was like someone calls your name and then you call back saying their name exactly the same way. One was the ‘nerlek’ or goose. It makes the sound ‘ner-lek’ and that is what it was called. It was not a hard sound to copy. It was only later I realized that he was learning to copy the sounds because that was how you could call them in when you were hunting. We would take shelter among some brush near the coast and when the geese were coming in off the coast you would call them: “nerlek….nerlek….nerlek…..nerlek.” They would hear this call and come towards the call. Then you would shoot. I remember seeing them come in right to where we were when he was calling. Sometimes other people would be with us and we would all call. The geese would come right in to where we were and we would shoot them out of the air. It was better to do this on days when it was overcast. When it was overcast the geese would fly lower under the clouds. If it was clear, the birds would be traveling too high and you would not be successful. Often there was low fog and this was even better. Then the geese would travel even closer. I can remember before I was shooting that if a goose was shot it would come falling down to the ground near where we were hiding. I’d run out to get them and sometimes they were still alive and try to run away. I’d chase them along the coast and catch them. Sometimes they would be able to take off and fly away and you would not get to them. I enjoyed this time. It was enjoyable to be on the coast and hunt geese. There were other sounds we called as well because these were the sounds and names of the birds.

The sounds in and around our community often change from location to location, hour to hour, day to day and season to season and year to year.
What You Need
Safe access to a variety of environments.

A video/DVD of other settings (segment of a home movie or from a recent popular movie).


What You Do


  • Emphasize the experiences of the previous two activities; that is, sounds that the children can make and sounds that are within their immediate environment.




  • Ask students to thoughtfully consider the sounds they might experience in other environments such as near the gymnasium, school office, a specialized classroom. Give students time to clarify your question, think through to a solution and, if so desired, express their ideas.




  • Take students on a ‘sound search’ to a variety of these locations within the school where the sounds are likely to vary. As an example, gymnasium, office, a specialized classroom such as a computer or maintenance room. At each location have students sit quietly for a minute listening to sounds. Again have students orally identify the sounds they have heard.




  • Ask students to thoughtfully consider the sounds they might experience in environments external to the school such as near the sea or near a busier traffic or construction area. Give students time to clarify your question, think through to a solution and, if so desired, express their ideas.




  • Take students outside to these environments near the school that are safe. Include an open environment where they might be able to hear natural sounds within the environment.




  • Return to the classroom and again list the sounds identified on a sound board or in their journal.




  • Ask students to thoughtfully consider if the sounds in these environments might change throughout the day. Ask students whether there are there sounds we hear in our environment only at certain times of day? Give students time to clarify your question, think through to a solution and, if so desired, express their ideas.




  • Repeat this process at a different time during the day. As an example, have the initial ‘sound search’ early in the school day and repeat just prior to lunch-time or later in the afternoon. Again, add these sounds to their list. Have students repeat this process at home at different times of the day, in particular students to ‘search for sounds’ early in the morning after they have awakened or before they go to bed. Have them share there findings with the class. Continue to add to the ‘sounds list’.




  • Continue to extend this discussion by asking students to consider what sounds might be heard at a different time of the year. Are there sounds we hear in winter or the dark season that are typically not heard in summer? Are there sounds we would hear in another location near the community (summer camps)?



  • Extend this consideration to:




  • Another city in the world.

  • That are in their house or school now would not have been there when their parents or grandparents were children. Encourage children to ask their family members about sounds they remember that no longer exist today.

  • Made only be certain people in their classroom, family, school or community.




  • Repeat this process by getting students to watch a segment of a home movie or a recent popular movie that has a variety of sounds. Ask students to identify:




  • The sounds they hear.

  • The sounds they would not hear in their community.

  • The sounds they would like to be able to hear. Possibly students could illustrate this.


What You Look For
The following questions should assist you in formatively assessing student learning. As well they might guide the entries students might make into their science journals.


  • Can students detect and identify the sounds they hear?

  • Can they orally express the name to describe the sound?

  • Do they recognize that sounds often change from location to location, hour to hour, day to day and season to season and year to year?

  • Do they recognize that sounds heard today may not have existed in previous years?

  • Can they identify that the sounds present or absent in different environments are a reflection of the use of that environment?


Sounds I Enjoyed: This story is an adaptation of a story told by an Inuit elder.
When I was a young man I really liked the sound of the returning arctic terns in the spring time. The winters were quiet of sounds and then in the spring there would be the return of many sounds, like the birds. You could see the arctic terns especially in the morning as it start to get warm and you could hear all the arctic terns chirping. In the evening they would have disappear. As the morning started again and it began to get warm, you would hear all the arctic terns. I really enjoyed. I liked the sound of the terns. I did not like to hear loons calling. There are many stories about loons. It is said that when loons are watching an animal they make noises. They make different sounds depending on what animal they see. It is said when you hear a loon making a sound at night it means that the bird has seen a caribou. In the evening when we have just settled in our camp you could hear these loons sometimes making a sound like a yelp. It is said that when they have yelped they have seen something which might be a caribou. This was important to us to hear this sound. When they see a person it is different. Perhaps when they see some movements they will appear to be moaning. It is said that when they are making those sounds it is said that they are running up against man and are frightened. This was meant to be like an alarm. It could be for anything not just a man, possibly even if they saw a fox they would making that kind of a sound. At the time when I first started to go inland with others their sounds use to make me feel spooky, but what really spooked me were the sound of wolves. All of these sounds are still there. I like some of the sounds. Some sounds I don’t. Some of the sounds were important and we recognized which ones were the most important.

Sounds vary in many ways and these characteristics of sounds allow us to describe and categorize sounds.
What You Need
Lists of sounds they have collected

A Learning Table or ‘Sound Making Box’ in the classroom that has many sound-making items on it.


What You Do
The previous activities are essential in providing students with the first-hand and oral language experience to express their preliminary understanding of sounds both within their immediate environment of classroom, family and community and the broader environment they less frequently experience.


  • Using these experiences, have students thoughtfully consider independently and suggest how the sounds listed on the ‘sound board’ might be classified. That is, are there sounds that belong to the same category? What are some ‘families’ of sounds? Students might recognize some sounds are:




  • Made by our bodies – voice, hands, feet.

  • Made by machines – computers, trucks, furnaces, lights, fans.

  • Made by natural things within our environment – wind, birds and other animals, northern lights.

  • Loud and some are soft.

  • Pleasant to hear and others are not.

  • High and some are low.




  • Return to listening to sounds quietly within the classroom for a minute again. Get them to identify examples of natural and mechanical sounds; loud and soft sounds; high and low sounds.


What You Look For
The following questions should assist you in formatively assessing student learning. As well they might guide the entries students make in their science journals.


  • Can students’ group sounds according to some characteristic?

  • Do they differentiate between natural and mechanical sources of sound?

  • Can they differentiate between loud and soft sounds?

  • Can they differentiate between pleasant and unpleasant sounds?

  • Can they differentiate between high and low sounds?


Some of the natural and mechanical sounds we hear are very important to people of the Beaufort-Delta & Old Crow region.
What You Need
Members of the community or some of the resource interviews included in the appendix of this resource.
What You Do


  • Ask students to thoughtfully consider sounds in their community that are important.

  • What sounds in their home or community do we immediately respond to?

  • What sounds in our home or community would we not want to miss?

  • What are sounds we hear in the summer or winter when we are out on the land we do not want to miss?




  • Important contemporary sounds might include the community fire siren, smoke alarms, freight barge’s arrival, a call for ‘help’ or severe blizzard winds. Discuss the significance of these sounds. Invite community members to discuss the sounds of significance from their lives. As an example a member of the fire brigade might talk about the importance of fire and smoke alarms in the home, school and community. Some community members might be able to relate to the stories mentioned in the Appendix section. As examples, elders might share their stories about the sounds of hunters returning from a hunt and the sound of dogs from a distance, a heavy-laden komatiq or toboggan or the sound of severe winds when they were out on the land and anxious about their situation. If appropriate, elders might share their stories about the sounds of the northern lights. Some community member might be able to impersonate sounds that are important to their success as hunters. Invite these members into the school to impersonate these sounds and identify why this skill has been important to their success as a hunter.

Share the stories in this section of this resource that relate to examples relevant to students such as the Northern Lights and communicating with dogs and their hearing.


What You Look For
The following questions should assist you in formatively assessing student learning. As well they might guide the entries students make into their science journals.


  • Have students experienced these sounds of importance?

  • Do they understand the importance of these sounds?

  • Do they treat these sounds with respect realizing that these sounds are associated with our survival?


Northern Lights: The following interview with Sheeba Selamio of Aklavik is an account of her experiences with the Northern Lights.
When we were children, we used to play outside a lot. I used to see different colored northern lights. We would see them and know that winter was coming. You might see them in the fall or in the winter and even in the spring. You knew winter was coming if you saw them. They were many different colors. They were green, red and even yellows. They made sounds like a swooshing sound – it was like they were alive. Sometimes they were very loud, especially when it was very cold. It was like they would watch you and would dance more when you were outside. They would get excited. We used to play outside a lot but we always were told this story when the northern lights were there. They were to be afraid of. They could get you and cause trouble we were told. When the northern lights were there and we were outside we would whistle at them and throw things up at them like snow. We would throw our arms up at them and they would dance even more. They would dance even more when we tried to scare them away. They used to make a loud swishing sound when they picked up speed. The adults used to tell us we had to be very, very careful outside playing at that time because the northern lights could cut off our heads. I have heard that there is a belief that the northern lights were using walrus heads for a football and they played by kicking around the walrus-head football. I was scared of them but I did not believe this. You can’t think too much about those things as they are not true I think. We used to play outside a lot and we experienced them a lot. I told my children this story but told them not to be afraid because one daughter was afraid when she saw them. I think now they told us these things so we would come inside and not play outside as long. They would try to fool us into coming inside to play.

In Trouble: The brief stories relate to the accounts ob being in trouble when traveling by Olive Pascall and Annie C. Gordon.
There are sounds that are important especially when you are in distress or danger or if something had happened and you need to get someone’s attention. We were at camp in the delta during ratting season. I heard the sound of three shots of a gun and knew something had happened. Sounds travel a long distance at that time of year and it was a signal to get our attention. We listened and again there were three shots and we knew the direction and it was a neighboring camp. So we traveled by boat and sure enough when we arrived at the camp someone needed help.
Again, another time we were walking away from our camp on the West Channel and there were three shots. Immediately we knew it was a signal to return to camp because something had happened. We returned to camp quickly and one of the children needed to be taken to Aklavik because someone had poked a sharp stick through their lip.
Another time we were traveling by boat in the summer to Shingle Point on the artic coast from Aklavik. We had come out onto the ocean and it was very foggy. We were away from the coastline and lost our direction at sea. There was nothing to give us any sense of direction. We knew we were not too far away from Shingle and that the people camped at Shingle would have been able to hear our outboard motor. We stopped the motor and listened. We heard three shots of the gun and tried to make out what direction it was coming from. We turned on the motor and continued to go in the direction we thought was right. We traveled a bit more in the fog in what we thought was the right direction and came to Seagull Island. We knew it is a ways from Seagull to Shingle but we had a sense now of which way to go. We turned off the motor and listened again. People at Shingle knew we would have been lost because we turning the motor on and off to listen and looking for direction. We listened again and again there were shots. This confirmed which way we should go and we then we headed off. So, some sounds are important. They tell you there is danger. They tell you to take notice.
For sounds to be made there needs to be something moving.
What You Do
In previous activities students have been making sounds with various parts of their body such as their hands, feet and voices.


  • Begin by asking students to think about whether they can make a sound with out moving any part of their body (including mouth, feet and hands). After a moment, have students sit quietly and ask them to make a sound without moving any part of their body. Students will quickly realize that their body cannot make a sound without movement.




  • Students typically will try to make vocal sounds without moving their lips thinking that there is no movement in their body. Even a humming sound is associated with movement. Have students hold their hands to their throat and feel the ‘vibration’ associated with a humming sound. Although even throat-singing appears to have little body movement associated with it, there is actually movement in our throat where our vocal cords are vibrating.




  • Have students focus on the sounds they have identified in their classroom and in their environment which are on the sound board or in their journal. Ask them to identify the source of the sound and to consider that all sounds are associated with movement even though, like our vocal cords, the movement may not be visible.




  • You may wish to extend this activity to show that when an object stops vibrating, sound is no longer produced. As an example, have students place their ear on a desk and tap the desk with their finger. They should not only be able to hear the sound but feel the vibration. When there is no sound there is no vibration.


What You Look For
The following questions should assist you in formatively assessing student learning. As well they might guide the entries students might make into their science journals.


  • Can students identify that the source of each sound is a moving object.

  • Can they identify the source of the sound?

  • Do they make connections between the intensity of the vibration and the loudness of the sound?

  • Do they make connections between the closeness of the sound and its loudness?


Sound travels outwards from its source. As we move closer to the source of the vibration or if the source comes closer, the sound is louder. As we move away or the source of the vibration moves away the sound is softer.
What You Need
Access to an open area (gym)

A large table.



Various objects to drop (pin, pen, coin, ball, book)
What You Do


  • Have students sit in pairs with their desks together. Have them place their ears to the desks and note the nature of the sound as they tap their desks. Have students move their desks apart and continue the tapping recognizing that the sound doesn’t travel between the desks as there is no path for the vibration.

  • Have students in groups stand around a large table and place their ears to a table. Have one student tap the table softly. Have the student tap and the others listen. Do they all hear the sound? Have the student tapping the table stand still but have the other students move closer to the source. Have them place their ears on the desk and listen again. How is the sound different? Have the ‘tapper’ move so she is closer to some of the students and more distant to others. How is the sound different? Have some of the students back away from the table and have the student again tap the desk. Again, do they all hear the sound? How is it different? Have all students move away from the desk to different areas of the room. Again, can they hear the tapper? Have the tapper move towards students in the room and tap desks near them? How does the sound differ for students closer to or further away from the sound?

  • Try the same activity with students lying on the floor with their ear to the floor. Have someone ‘tap’ the floor with their foot and the others with their eyes closed count the number of taps made. Get different students around the room volunteer to make sounds noting that when the other students are nearer the source the sound is easier to hear.

  • Move this activity to a large room such as the gymnasium. Have the students form a circle around you. Begin to talk quietly and have students move away from you and stop at a point they can no longer hear your voice. Have students look at the difference in the distances away from the source of the sound and explain these differences. Have students return to their original position but this time move away from the sound source in a different direction. Repeat this activity by dropping different objects from the central position. Have them move out from the central position until they can longer hear the object.




  • Repeat this process by having students work in pairs. Have the ‘dropper’ do the moving and move until the listener or receiver no longer can hear the sound.



What You Look For
The following questions should assist you in formatively assessing student learning. As well they might guide the entries students might make into their science journals.


  • Do students identify that sound travels outwards from its source in all directions?

  • Do they recognize that the sound is louder as we move closer to the source of the vibration or if the source comes closer? As well do they realize that as we move away or the source of the vibration moves away the sound is softer?


Hunting Seals: This is adapted story form interviews with Z. P. Inuksuk.
Seal have very good eyesight. We used a dog to pick up a scent of the seal breathing hole. The hunter, upon examining it will determine which general direction the rest of the breathing holes are located, using the claw marks in the walls of the breathing hole. This would tell us what way the seals were coming from when they came into the breathing hole. Away from the land at the floe-edge, young ice also tends to form. There was usually no snow and the ice and this made it more difficult for hunting. It was at that place when my father asked me to get into position on a conical shape breathing hole. So I was positioned ready to shoot. I would not move my feet. Before he left he told me that I should not put my mitt on the ground where there was no snow on the ice when I was going to fire a shot. He said that in so doing, the seal would immediately flee which was breathing in the hole. He had instructed me against putting my mitt on the ground. So then a seal started to blow, I inserted a bullet into the chamber, I started to aim at the seal below, but I thought I might drop my mitt in my mouth, I took it, and ever so gently, I started to place it on the ground, at that moment the seal splashed and fled because it heard me. They also had an acute sense of hearing. If the dog had located a breathing hole you would move in a big circle to the hole going around it and making smaller and smaller circles in thinking that the seal would move towards the breathing seal. You had to be patient.


Sounds are detected by our ears and interpreted in our brain. Our ability to hear well is influenced by having two ears. Our outer ear helps to collect sounds

What You Need
Some object that makes a sound that students are unable or difficult to identify because they have little experience with it (ripping of special materials, scratching of materials).
Different lengths and widths of paper.
What You Do


  • Have students close their eyes and sit quietly. The teacher moves to a location in the room and makes a soft noise. Students identify the direction of the source of the sound by pointing their fingers in the direction of the sound.




  • Have students close their eyes but covers one ear. Repeat the process.




  • Have students close both of their eyes and cover both ears. Repeat the process.




  • Again have students close their eyes but this time make a sound that students are unlikely to have heard. Get students to identify the sound. Emphasize to students that although we can hear sounds we may be unable to identify it because we have not had experience with the sound and are unable to interpret it. Explain to students that we learn languages in a similar way. We may not know the meaning of a word until we have heard it repeatedly.




  • Examine the structure of ears and how we hear. Diagrams of the ear are valuable in explaining how our ears operate. It may be appropriate at this stage for a health-professional to talk to the students about ours, safety with our ears and what causes damage to the ears. This may be covered later in the Upper Primary learning activities where students are likely to have more self-reliability in looking after their ears in order to protect their hearing.




  • It is valuable for students to understand that the outer ear collects sounds. The shape of the outer ear is designed to not only protect the inner ear but also collect sounds. Get students to listen to someone talking quietly by (1) cupping their hand to collect the sounds and (2) roll up a piece of paper and place it near their ear canal in order to collect sounds?




  • Students might investigate whether a larger (longer and/or wider) paper cone improves the quality of their hearing. Get them to test these two ideas:




    1. Does a longer cone improve the quality of the sound?

    2. Does a wider come improve the quality of the sound?



What You Look For
The following questions should assist you in formatively assessing student learning. As well they might guide the entries students might make into their science journals.


  • Do students identify that sounds are what are sensed by our ears just as things we feel are sensed through touch and seen through sight?

  • Do they realize that our ears hear but it is our brains that learn the meaning of sounds? We can hear sounds but they may be unfamiliar to use just like words or people we meet for the first time.

  • Do they understand the function of the various parts of the ear, especially the outer ear and ear canal that capture the sound and transfer the sound to the ear drum which picks up the sound vibration?

  • Do they understand that the structure of the outer ear influences our ability and other animals’ ability to hear sounds?

Upper Elementary: (Grades 4-6)


Pitch and volume are important characteristics of sound. The stronger the vibration; the louder the sound and the higher the volume. The more rapid the vibration; the higher the pitch.
What You Need


  • Rubber bands (different thicknesses)

  • Cup covered with plastic wrap

  • Rice

  • Construction paper

  • Tape

  • A guitar or stringed instrument.

  • A drum or other skinned instrument.

  • Plastic Combs of various sizes.


What You Do
Starting Point


  • Have students place their hand on their vocal cords and make a humming sound. Have them feel and describe the nature of the vibration. Repeat but, this time, make the sound have more loudness or volume, terms that can easily relate to from a stereo or television control panel. Again get them to describe the sound. Increase the volume to the highest level they can make. Get them to also consider that as they are making a louder sound they are forcing more air across their vocal cords. They should easily recognize that the larger the vibration the louder or more volume of the sound.

  • Have them repeat but this time make high hums. Then low hums noting the difference. They should be able to recognize that a high hum is more vibrations per time and low hum is fewer vibrations for time.


Volume


  • Have students work in pairs. One person stretches the rubber band between two fingers. The other person plucks the rubber band by pulling it upward and letting it go. Observe the vibrating rubber band. Make the sound louder by pulling the rubber band up further and letting it go with more energy. Note that as the vibration gets bigger the sound gets larger. Make the vibration small to make a soft sound.




  • Again work in pairs. One person puts her ear to the desk and the other taps on the desk. Note that a soft tap makes a soft vibration and volume. Reverse roles. Repeat but make a stronger vibration by tapping the desk with more force.




  • Place rice on the plastic wrap on the cup. Make a paper megaphone and point it at the plastic cup surface and talk quietly observing any influence the sound has on the rice. Repeat with a louder and louder voice.




  • Demonstrate to students that guitars and drums create high and low volumes depending upon the size of the vibration caused by striking the vibrating object.


Pitch


  • Again have students work in pairs. One student stretches a rubber band between her fingers. The other person plucks it. Remember we change the volume of the sound by changing the size of the vibration. What happens if we stretch the rubber band to make it tighter and pluck it? The sound becomes higher. That is it changes in pitch rather than volume. Note that when the pitch is higher the number of vibrations per time has increased.




  • Ask students to tighten the elastic even further and pluck it. How does this influence the pitch? Again the number of vibrations increases.




  • Ask students to pinch the stretched elastic and pinch it in the middle. Now what happens when we pluck the elastic? The number of vibrations is even greater.




  • We can change the pitch by changing the length of the vibrating object or the tightness of the vibrating object. What happens if we change the thickness of the vibrating object?




  • Get students to experiment with plastic combs and strumming the teeth with their thumbnail. Students should note that the length of the teeth, thickness of the teeth and location of the teeth on the comb influence the pitch made by the vibrating teeth. In all cases an increased pitch is associated with the number of vibrations. When the sound is high the object travels back and forth to its original position rapidly. Students are likely able to associate this to those sounds they have heard that have high pitches (in particular mosquitoes and flies) that beat their wings rapidly creating high-pitched sounds).


What You Look For
The following questions should assist you in formatively assessing student learning. As well they might guide the entries students make in their science journals.


  • Can students explain the concepts of pitch and volume?

  • Can students identify that volume is influenced by the strength of the vibration?

  • Can students identify that pitch is influenced by the frequency of vibrations?


We can measure sound. Some sounds are not audible because of their low volume or frequency.
What You Need


  • A device for making sound such as a small drum and drumstick.

  • A device for measuring sound (the display on a stereo or a sound meter that may be available through the local council or government maintenance office). Even the volume switch on a television or stereo provides a means of ‘measuring’ volume and in some cases frequency.



What You Do


  • Start by having the students sit quietly and take note of the sounds that are in their classroom. Can they differentiate among high and low pitches and volumes?




  • Have them further discuss the sounds that are in other parts of the school. Where in the school do they think they would find the sounds with the greatest volume, highest pitch, lowest volume and lowest pitch?




  • Have access to a sound display device that registers volumes and potentially frequencies. Note the level of sound volume that is associated with the display shown. Take note of when sounds are loud enough to be audible and when they too loud, even to the point the volume level may be painful.




  • Using the device for making sound (drum and drum stick), create sounds that are inaudible because of the low energy associated with the vibration. Increase the energy of the vibration and note the increase in the volume.




  • Get students to make vibrations in their throat without emitting a sound that their partner cannot hear. It is possible they will be able to feel the vibration but their partner may be unable to hear it.




  • Get them to increase the energy in their vibration of their throat and by-so-doing increase the volume produced.




  • Get students to consider the structure of the ear, especially the ear-drum, and what is happening in the ear to detect sound.




  • Provide students with information about the decibel (dB) as a means of measuring the amount of energy in a sound or simply its volume. As examples whisper is 20dB, a normal conversation 60 dB, and a plane taking off nearby is 130 dB.




  • Have students consider that there are various pitches (frequencies) of sounds and that some are inaudible because our ears can only detect a certain range of pitches. As well, animals have different ranges for detecting pitches.




  • Get students to consider the hearing capabilities of dogs and other animals. Share the stories in the appendix section of this resource that relate to the special nature of dogs and their hearing.



What You Look For
The following questions should assist you in formatively assessing student learning. As well they might guide the entries students make in their science journals.


  • Can students differentiate between high volumes and high pitches?

  • Can students differentiate between low volumes and pitches?

  • Can students explain what causes high volumes and high pitches?

  • Can students explain what causes low volumes and pitches?

  • Can they explain why some sounds can’t be heard?


Sounds from Dogs: The following story is an adaptation of a story told by Louis Uttak.
Dogs make many different kinds of sounds. The sounds mean something. We can tell when they are excited. We can tell when they are angry or spooked. Dogs are very intelligent and these sounds they make are important to us. They also have a keen sense of hearing and hear things that we can’t hear. When I am at my camp or traveling, there are times I listen and I don’t hear but I know the dogs hear and it is important to be aware of how they behave because this tells us things. They are so knowledgeable. That is why they get spooked very easily. They have keen eye sight and smell. In the older days, we used to stay indoors when the weather was bad. Sometimes the dogs would all make a sound. That meant that there was a dog team that was coming in. So we knew that a dog team was coming even though it might be far away. We used the dogs’ behavior to find out that there was a team coming in. It would also tell us whose dog team it might be. They would get excited if they knew whose it was. They could tell if the komatiq was full of meet or not by the sound it make. We could tell that too; whether it was heavy or not. They were familiar with the sounds they heard. This is even when the dog team is still far off. When the dogs hear a team coning in, they will make a sound, they were used to know things that was not possible when you are alone. Sometimes they will start howling. They make these sounds so that people are aware what is happening. It is very helpful. I notice they tend to get spooked easily. Well, they tend to bark easily. When they do not recognize something they will get spooked. There is something on this land that we don’t see or hear but the dogs do. There will be these beings as long as there is land around. They will not disappear as long as there is land. Sometimes there are those that say that there are none of these beings left. But there will always these beings.


Sound travels as a wave through solids and liquids better than through air.
What You Need


  • Coat hangers and spoons (preferably metal) – at least ensure for this activity they are all either plastic or metal but not both.

  • String.

  • Balloons – some filled with water, some with air, some with frozen water.


What You Do


  • Start by having students tap the desk with their finger and listen to the soft sound it produces. Repeat but this time have them place their ear to the desk and hear how much louder the sound is. Have students consider that the sound vibration is the same but it travels through the solid desk so much better than through the air.




  • Have students work in pairs. Have one student connect the mid-section of a 1-metre long piece of string to a coat hanger while the other connects another piece of string to a metallic spoon. Have them swing the spoon into a wall and listen to the sound it produces. Have students wrap the ends of the string around the tips of their fingers and insert these tips with the string wrapped around them into their ears. Repeat the swinging process into the walls and listen to the sound made. Again have students consider that the sound vibration is the same but it travels through the string so much better than through the air.




  • Have students listen to your tapping of your foot. Ask them to consider how the sound is traveling to their ear. Then have them listen to the tapping of your foot with their ear to the floor. Have them consider why the sound is now so much better. Have them consider that like the spoons, the vibration is now traveling through the floor rather than through the air.




  • Have students place an inflated balloon to their ear. Have their partner tap the balloon and listen to the sound. Repeat the process but this time place a water-filled balloon to their ear. Finally repeat with an ice filled balloon. Students should be aware that the sound travels best through the solid and liquid objects rather than through the air.




  • Have students listen to the stories of hunters who can relate that the sounds of their movement on the ice or in the water (outboard motors) are more easily heard by sea animals than their voices through the air. Again some of the stories told by elders in the appendix relating to hunting muskrat make reference to an implicit understanding of how sound travels better through water and solid materials (like snow, ice and earth) than through the air.


What You Look For
The following questions should assist you in formatively assessing student learning. As well they might guide the entries students make in their science journals.


  • Can students identify that sounds travel better through solids and liquids rather than the air?

  • Can they see that many of the hunting skills used by Inuit take this knowledge into consideration?


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