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The Science of Musical Sound

Sound is an experience that hearing people may take for granted, but few understand exactly what makes it work. In a recent waves study unit, music teacher Rob DeNunzio joined the Eighth Grade Science class to help students understand sound, become more active listeners, and engage them with the physics and mathematics concepts that they will be moving on to later in the semester. 

This interactive lesson in sound exploration gave students the opportunity to experiment with tools that create and measure sound. The class enhanced their understanding of the waves unit by using spectral analysis, an oscilloscope, and tone generators to demonstrate how different sounds produce waves of varying frequencies and amplitudes. Students then experimented with using their voices, clapping their hands, and playing musical instruments to actually see what sound waves look like. Finally, they experimented with changing pitch and rhythm, and observing how the waves changed.

“The students loved this lesson!” exclaimed science teacher Mary Churchill. “It was hands-on, fun and visually stimulating.”