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Sound vibration model

Use a slinky to model how sound vibrations move in a wave
Science content (2016 curriculum): 
Biology: Sensing, Organ Systems (4, 5, 6)
Chemistry: Atoms, Molecules (3-7)
Physics: Light and Sound (1)
Science topic (2005 curriculum connection): 
Physical Science: Light and Sound (grade 4)

This is a model of the moving vibrations.
Pairs of students stretch the slinky between them.
Flick the slinky forwards to make a wave.
See how the vibrations move along as a wave, as one part of the slinky pushes the next part.
This is how sound waves move: molecules bump the next molecules along, forming a wave of vibrations.
These are called longitudinal waves, and is how sound moves through solids, liquids and gases.

Make a transverse wave by flicking the slinky sideways. Sound waves can only move like this through solids.

Look for the wave coming back along the slinky. Ever heard an echo in a big room, or across a valley? Sound bouncing back.

When these vibrating molecules reach our ear, they make our ear drum vibrate which transfers the energy vibrations to our inner ear where they stimulate neurons. The nerve fires and sends a signal to our brain, that we perceive as sound.

Grades tested: 
Gr 1
Gr 2
Gr 3
Gr 4
Gr 5
Despina Petrellis
Rebecca Kargut
Stephanie Coit
Teaching site: 
Carnarvon Elementary
Kerrisdale Annex Elementary
Selkirk Elementary
Activity originally developed and delivered: