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20 October 2014
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Science topics ages 9 - 10
Changing sounds

Curriculum relevance | Online lesson plan
Offline lesson plan | Worksheet | Activity

Offline lesson plan


Understand how the pitch of an instrument can be altered

Understand how the loudness of an instrument can be altered

National Curriculum

England: Key Stage 2, Sc1 2f; Sc4 3f

Wales: Key Stage 2, Physical processes, 3.7

Northern Ireland: Key Stage 2, Physical processes, Sound, a

Scotland: 5-14 Guidelines, Science, Properties and uses of energy, Level D

Resources required

Copies of the Changing sounds worksheet printed from the Science Clips website

Four cards with High pitch, Low pitch, High volume, Low volume written on them

Displays of a low-frequency and a high-frequency wave pattern

A bottle and a jug of water to fill it with

Teaching activities

Ask children to think of words that describe sounds, e.g. loud, quiet, vibration, pitch. What things make sounds? Lead the children to point out sound is made when there is a vibration. Tell the children that the frequency of a sound is a measure of the number of vibrations or waves per second. Show the wave pattern displays and together count the waves or vibrations. Explain that a sound with a high frequency will make a high-pitched sound, and one with a low frequency will make a low-pitched sound. Explain that pitch is a measure of how high or low a sound is.

Tell the children that they are going to identify how the pitch of an instrument can be altered. Hand out copies of the worksheet, one per child. Explain to children that in each set of images, they must label the images as 1, 2, and 3 in order of pitch (1 being the lowest and 3 being the highest). Once children understand what to do, allow them to complete the worksheet independently.

Go through the worksheet, asking different children how they ordered the sets of instruments. Put the four cards face down at the front of the class (the two volume cards in one pile and the two pitch cards in a second pile). Ask a child to come out and select one card from each pile. With help, the child must then fill the bottle with some water and blow it to make a sound that matches the two cards taken. The rest of the class should then guess which cards the child had selected.


Ask children to write down in words the relationship observed in each set of instruments on the worksheet, e.g. the shorter the string, the higher the pitch and the longer the string, the lower the pitch. Ask them to draw wave pattern diagrams to illustrate the words.

Suggested homework

Challenge the children to design and make a musical instrument that can be played at high or low volume, and at high or low pitch.


Resources for teachers

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