Below are a few simple experiments and activities you can conduct at home along with the concepts that can be learned from them.
1. How is Sound made?
By vibrations, moving in waves to our ears! To illustrate this concept loosely stretch a rubber band between your thumb and forefinger, and ask the child to predict what will happen when you pluck it. Let your child have fun playing with it. Encourage him/her to pluck his/her own rubber band to see what happens. Kids should discover that a plucked rubber band vibrates when plucked, thereby making a sound. Encourage him/her to experiment with their rubber bands to try to produce different kinds of sounds. To extend, challenge him/her to find other ways to demonstrate the vibration of sound, such as strumming a ruler with one end held firmly against the edge of a desk.
2. Sound travels in waves.
Cover a bowl with a plastic wrap. Make sure the wrap is smooth and free from wrinkles. Use a rubber band to secure the wrap tightly in its place. Sprinkle some pepper on the smooth wrap.
Hold a pot near the bowl and with a spoon make SOUND!
Once your kids have had their fill banging the pot, ask them to observe what’s happening to the pepper? Ask them what they think might be making the pepper jump? Explain that the loud noise you made is a vibration, which gets transmitted through the air, to the plastic. The plastic vibrates, and makes the pepper dance.
3. Amplitude is the size of the sound wave.
Select a nice vigorous nasheed and play it on your computer or player. Cover the speaker with a paper and sprinkle some uncooked rice grains on it. Observe the effect on rice. Next turn up the volume the whole way and see what happens. The louder the volume (amplitude) the higher the rice grains with jump. This demonstration helps in visualising the amplitude as high and low waves.
4. Sound travels away from the source.
Play a nasheed, bang a pot, anything you like. Ask the kids to move away from the sound. Ask about what happened to the sound as they moved away? Explain that the sound waves move away from sound source and the further they are the weaker they get.
5. Sound waves can pass through most materials (mediums).
Make some loud sound. Demonstrate the effect of closing the door, going in another room, putting cotton wool in ears etc. Explain that sound can pass through many solids as well as liquids and gases. Also explain that some materials (mediums) crush the sound waves as they pass through it making them smaller hence muffling the sound.