Package 2 - Year 3 & 4 Science - Light and Sound

Join the scientists from Fizzics Education to learn about all about light and sound. Watch the video and then complete some of your own light and sound experiments at home.

Week 5 - Package 2 - Year 3 & 4 Science - Light and Sound

Things your child will need

Have these things available so your child can complete this task.

Ideal

  • Light and Sound video

  • Nut (from a bolt, not the edible kind)

  • Balloons

  • Coins or washers (optional)

  • Clothes peg or bag clip (optional)

  • Balloon pump (optional)

Optional: extension activity

  • Coloured pencils or textas

  • Blank paper

  • Scissors

  • Glue stick or sticky tape

  • Straw, skewer, chopstick or other round stick

Before your child starts

Warning: Balloons can pop unexpectedly during this experiment.

What your child needs to do

  1. Watch the Light and Sound video.

  2. Discuss how sound is made by vibrations.

  3. Follow instructions on Activity Sheet 1: Balloon Nut Hummer (below).

  4. Discuss the results of the activity. What problems did you have (if any)? What made the best noise? Did speed have an impact on the sound?

What your child can do next

Follow the instructions on Activity Sheet 2 (below) - Bird in a cage illusion (a Thaumatrope).

Did your bird end up in the cage? Can you think of other times your brain puts images together? Create your own versions of a Thaumatrope with any designs you like.


Options for your child

Activity too hard?

Using just a balloon, how many different types of noises can you make? Do they come from different parts of the balloon? Think about each sound and how the vibrations are made!

Activity too easy?

Try the activity again, and test out the following questions:

  • Does the sound change if you swirl the balloon faster?

  • Does the nut in the balloon keep spinning after you’ve stopped swirling?

  • What happens to the sound as the nut slows down?

Repeat Activity 1 using the optional materials (coin or washer) for some variable testing! Does changing the nut to a coin or washer make a different sound? Why?

Extension/Additional activity

  • Extension Activity: Bird in a Cage

  • Investigate ways you can record or measure the changes in sound.

  • Investigate other moving images like zoetropes and stop motion animation.

Activity sheet 1: Balloon nut hummer

Sound is created by vibrations. We can make sound by spinning a nut inside a balloon, where we can see it move and feel those vibrations!

Equipment

  • Nut (from a bolt, not the edible kind)

  • Balloons

  • Coins or washers (optional)

  • Clothes peg or bag clip (optional)

  • Balloon pump (optional)

Procedure

  1. Place a nut into the opening of the balloon.

  2. Inflate the balloon (use a balloon pump if necessary) to a comfortable size for you to hold with your hand, and tie or clip the end with a peg.

  3. Gently swirl the balloon in circles until the nut is spinning.

  4. Listen to it.

  5. Repeat the experiment using a coin or washer if you have one.

Can you feel the vibrations made by the nut rubbing against the balloon as it spins? Did you hear a sound during your experiment? Does the sound remind you of any other sound you have heard before?

The nut has corners that vibrate the rubber skin of the balloon as it rolls around inside. This vibration causes a sound. The frequency - or how fast the vibrations are happening - changes the pitch of the sound you hear!

NOTE - Balloons can burst during this experiment. This can be caused by sharp edges on objects or excessive friction from rubbing on the balloon rubber.

Extension Activity: Bird in a cage

Our brain is really good at remembering what we see. If images are moving fast, it will combine them into one. A thaumatrope (“wonder wheel'' in ancient Greek) is a toy that was popular in the 19th century and works by tricking our eyes and brain.

Equipment

  • Coloured pencils or textas

  • Blank paper

  • Scissors

  • Glue stick or sticky tape

  • Straw, skewer, chopstick or other round stick

Procedure

  1. Colour in the pictures on the template page.

  2. Carefully cut out the circles and put them on a flat surface in front of you, picture side facing up. Make sure the pictures are also the right way round (the star should be at the bottom of the picture).

  3. Take one of the circles and flip it over so the picture is now facing down (the star should still be at the bottom of the picture).

  4. Line up one end of the stick with the top of the circle, making sure it is going down the middle of the circle. It should look like a lollipop.

  5. Tape the stick to the circle, or put glue on the circle either side of the stick.

  6. Take the other circle, picture side facing up and star at the bottom of the picture, stick it down over the stick so that the two circles overlap. If you are using tape, tape the two overlapping circles together with a couple of pieces of tape.

  7. Hold the stick between your palms and slide them back and forth so the stick spins.

Does the bird look like it is in the cage as you spin the stick? Does spinning the stick faster or slower change what you see? Try making your own version in the blank circles with any two pictures that go together - a bee and a flower, a hat on a head, a spider on a web - whatever you like!

Your brain puts the two pictures together when they are flashing in front of your eyes very quickly, we call this persistence of vision. Now you can try making your own version.

NOTE - If you want to make sure your two pictures are the right size and in position for each other, hold your circles up to a light (or against a window) to check where you need to draw your pictures.


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