3.2.3.1 Sound & Light

Grade: 
3
Subject:
Science
Strand:
Physical Science
Substrand:
Energy
Standard 3.2.3.1

Energy appears in different forms, including sound and light.

Benchmark: 3.2.3.1.1 Pitch of Sound

Explain the relationship between the pitch of a sound, the rate of vibration of the source and factors that affect pitch.

For example: Changing the length of a string that is plucked changes the pitch.

Benchmark: 3.2.3.1.2 Shadows

Explain how shadows form and can change in various ways.

Benchmark: 3.2.3.1.3 Changes in the Travel of Light

Describe how light travels in a straight line until it is absorbed, redirected, reflected or allowed to pass through an object.

For example: Use a flashlight, mirrors and water to demonstrate reflection and bending of light.

Overview

Standard in Lay Terms 

Energy appears in different forms, including sound and light.

©Phillip Martin

See this page.

Big Ideas and Essential Understandings 

Big Idea:

Energy comes in many forms, two of which are light and sound.  Sound and light both travel and have factors that change how we observe them.  The rate of the vibration of the source of sound changes its pitch.  Light can be observed in many ways.  It can be absorbed, redirected, reflected or allowed to pass through an object.  Light can also create shadows, which can change depending on the position of the light.

Benchmark Cluster 

MN Standard Benchmarks:

3.2.3.1.1  Explain the relationship between the pitch of a sound, the rate of vibration of the source and factors that affect pitch.  For example: Changing the length of a string that is plucked changes the pitch.

3.2.3.1.2  Explain how shadows form and can change in various ways.

3.2.3.1.3  Describe how light travels in a straight line until it is absorbed, redirected, reflected or allowed to pass through an object.  For example: Use a flashlight, mirrors and water to demonstrate reflection and bending of light.

(This Benchmark has a clear link to the 3rd Grade Earth Science Benchmark 3.3.3.1.2. Recognize the pattern of apparent changes in the moon's shape and position.)

THE ESSENTIALS

Video clip: Submarine Sonar

A PBS Design Squad video clip in Sound/Music activities.  Submarine Sonar is described by Lt. Darrin Barber, an electrical engineer.  This short clip (1:17) in the Pro Files tab of the Design Squad website, shows how studying sound and energy is applied.  (This clip fits the entire Physical Science standard and also the Nature of Science and Engineering standard: Recognize that the practice of science and/or engineering involves many different kinds of work and engages men and women of all ages and backgrounds.  Benchmark 3.1.3.2.2)

Video clip: The Science of Light

How light is put to work in our world.  Source: NeoK12 (Benchmark: 3.2.3.1.3)

Correlations 

NSES Standards

Sound is produced by vibrating objects.  The pitch of the sound can be varied by changing the rate of vibration.  (Benchmark 3.2.3.1.1) NSES

Light travels in a straight line until it strikes an object.  Light can be reflected by a mirror, refracted by a lens, or absorbed by the object.  (Benchmarks 3.2.3.1.2 and 3.2.3.1.3)  NSES

AAAS Atlas

NSDL Science Literacy Maps

Light travels and tends to maintain its direction of motion until it interacts with an object or material.  Light can be absorbed, redirected, bounced back, or allowed to pass through.

Benchmarks of Science Literacy

Benchmarks Online The Physical Setting : Motion

Common Core Standards

In the 3rd grade science class, students are expected to "read and comprehend informational texts, including science, and technical texts" (MN LA Standard 3.2.10.10) and use the text to provide evidence to support their claims.  The Minnesota K-12 Language Arts Standards describe what students should be able to accomplish through reading nonfiction:

  • 3.2.1.1  Ask and answer questions to demonstrate understanding of a text, referring explicitly to the text as the basis for the answers.
  • 3.2.2.2  Determine the main idea of a text; recount the key details and explain how they support the main idea.
  • 3.2.3.3  Describe the relationship between a series of historical events, scientific ideas or concepts, or steps in technical procedures in a text, using language that pertains to time, sequence, and cause/effect.
  • 3.2.5.5  Use text features and search tools (e.g. key words, sidebars, hyperlinks) to locate information relevant to a given topic efficiently.
  • 3.2.6.6  Distinguish their own point of view from that of the author of a text.
  • 3.2.7.7  Use information gained from illustrations (e.g. maps, photographs) and the words in a text to demonstrate understanding of the text (e.g. where, when, why, and how key events occur).

Misconceptions

Student Misconceptions 

The majority of elementary students and some middle-school students who have not received any systematic instruction about light tend to identify light with its source (e.g. light is in the bulb) or its effects (e.g. patch of light).  They do not have a notion of light as something that travels from one place to another.  As a result, these students have difficulties explaining the direction and formation of shadows, and the reflection of light by objects.  For example, some students simply note the similarity of shape between the object and the shadow or say that the object hides the light.  Middle-school students often accept that mirrors reflect light but, at least in some situations, reject the idea that ordinary objects reflect light.

Many elementary and middle-school students do not believe that their eyes receive light when they look at an object.  Students' conceptions of vision vary from the notion that light fills space ("the room is full of light") and the eye "sees" without anything linking it to the object to the idea that light illuminates surfaces that we can see by the action of our eyes on them. The conception that the eye sees without anything linking it to the object persists after traditional instruction in optics.

Guesne, E. (1985). Light. In Driver, R. (Ed.), Children's ideas in science (pp. 10-32).

Ramadas, J., Driver, R. (1989). Aspects of secondary students' ideas about light.

From: NSDL Science Literacy Maps

Misconceptions about Light from Beyond Weather and the Water Cycle

Misconceptions about light include the nature of light, the speed at which light travels, the behavior of light, image formation, and color.  A common misconception is that light can only be reflected from shiny surfaces (such as a mirror).  Students may also believe that an object cannot absorb and reflect light - it must do one or the other.  Of course, the correct concept is that all objects absorb and reflect light to different degrees.

Another related misconception is that the Earth gets heat from the Sun.  The Sun is actually too far from the Earth to heat it directly.  Instead, the light from the Sun is reflected or absorbed by objects on Earth.  Absorbed light usually increases the energy in an object, causing the object to heat up.

Vignette

Ms. Smith has several small groups of students engaged in various science activities at stations around the room all related to the study of light.  She hooked the students by asking them a question related to their misconception about being able to see an object even though there is no light shining on the object.  She asked her students, "If you were in a completely dark room, would you be able to see anything?"  To guide her students in answering this question, she organized the five activities: "Bouncing Light," "Bending Light," "Light in the Darkness," "Me and My Shadow," and "Making a Rainbow."  At regular intervals the groups move to each station.  Directions and questions are posted at each station and the student teams have to record their answers in their science logs.  While moving through the stations, students have opportunities to discuss their observations about light.   After about 45 minutes the children have worked at all the stations and return to their desks, discussing the questions posted at the different stations.  Ms. Smith then leads the class in a discussion about light using the experiences at the stations to guide the students to understandings about the topic.  In one class period, Ms. Smith was able to have students observe phenomena, compare ideas with others, and test new ideas against their old ideas to see if they needed to change their old ideas.

Vignette adapted from the following article: Matkins, J., & McDonnough, J. (2004). Circus of Light. Science and Children. 41.5, 50-54.

Resources

Instructional Notes 

Instructional suggestions/options

The 3rd Grade Physical Science Benchmark 3.2.3.1.2 has a clear link to the 3rd Grade Earth Science Benchmark 3.3.3.1.1: Observe and describe the daily and seasonal changes in the position of the sun and compare observations.  The vignette for Earth Science fits directly with this standard as well.

The 3rd Grade Physical Science Benchmark 3.2.3.1.3 has a clear link to the 3rd Grade Earth Science Benchmark 3.3.3.1.2: Recognize the pattern of apparent changes in the moon's shape and position.

Selected activities

Dirt Meister's Science Lab

Good Vibrations: Simple Physics/Sound (Benchmark 3.2.3.1.1)

A challenge that lets you explore the relationship between vibrations and pitch.

Dirt Meister's Science Lab

The Shadow Knows: Shadows and Light (Benchmark 3.2.3.1.2)

A challenge that lets you explore the relationship between shadows and light.

And Then There Was Light (Benchmark 3.2.3.1.3)

A variety of hands-on activities to discover and understand the properties of light.  This activity includes acceleration and remediation activities.

Sun, Light & Shadows from Science Kids (Benchmarks 3.2.3.1.2 and 3.2.3.1.3)

Learn about the sun, light and shadows as you experiment with different light sources and objects in this fun, interactive science activity for kids.

Physics of Sound (Benchmark 3.2.3.1.1)

Outdoor Sounds:  Boston Schoolyard Initiative Extension

Students will practice sound discrimination in a different environment and increase their vocabulary for describing the properties of sounds.

Capturing Light/Using Sunlight by the Science Museum of Minnesota

Mathpacks: Discussing "What is light and how can we capture light?"  (Fits with Benchmarks 3.2.3.1.1, 3.2.3.1.2, 3.2.3.1.3 and 3.1.3.4.1)

Sound/Music Resources by PBS Kids Design Squad (Fits with Standard 3.2.3.1)

Hands-on challenges that focus on the engineering design process.  This site includes video clips of real scientists and animations to visually explain concepts.

PBS Kids String Thing

On-line game that allows students (or teacher) to drag strings on to the playing board and change the sound the string makes by manipulating three variables: tension, gauge, and length. (Fits with Benchmark 3.2.3.1.1)

Sensing Energy

Purpose: To identify different forms of energy produced by the sun.  Students will perform simple experiments that will help them to explore unseen energy produced by the sun.  Students will be exposed to the concepts of both visible and invisible forms of energy derived from the sun.  (Fits with Standard 3.2.3.1)

How Light Moves from Teachers' Domain (Benchmarks 3.2.3.1.2 and 3.2.3.1.3)

Students investigate some of the properties of how light is propagated, and using observations from simple experiments, test their predictions about the paths that light takes with different materials.

Sound Vibrations from Teachers' Domain (Benchmark 3.2.3.1.1)

Help students understand that vibrations are responsible for the sounds we hear and learn that sound vibrations can travel through different media.

New Vocabulary 

Vocabulary/Glossary

Amplify: to make a sound louder. (TG, SS)

Convert: to change from one form to another. (SS)

Energy: the power that makes things happen. (SS)

Energy conversion: when energy changes from one form to another. (SS)

Instrument: something used to produce music. (SS)

Pitch: how high or low a sound is. (TG, SS)

Property: how an object looks, feels, sounds, or tastes. (TG)

Sound discrimination: the ability to identify sounds as different from one another. (TG, SS)

Sound source: an object or material that vibrates in a way that makes sound. (TG, SS)

Tension: the degree to which a material has been stretched. (SS, TG)

Tune: to adjust the musical pitch. (SS)

Vibration: a rapid back-and-forth movement. (TG, SS)

Volume: the loudness of a sound. (TG, SS)

Light Vocabulary: Definitions from Merriam-Webster Word Central

Absorb: to receive without giving back; to transform (radiant energy) into a different form usually with a resulting rise in temperature (the earth absorbs the sun's rays).

Light source: a point where light begins.

Light wave: a disturbance similar to a wave in water that transfers energy progressively from point to point.

Prism: a transparent object that usually has three sides and bends light so that it breaks up into rainbow colors.

Reflect: to bend or throw back waves of light, sound, or heat.

Refraction: the bending of a ray when it passes at an angle from one medium into another in which its speed is different (as when light passes from air into water).

Shadow: shade within certain bounds.

Technology Connections 

PBS Kids Design Squad. 

Engage Kids in Hands-on Engineering.  Includes video clips, animations, guides, and other resources.

Science in Focus: Shedding Light on Science: Workshop 1. Shine and Shadow

Light is a form of energy that affects all facets of our lives.  This is a digital workshop to explore how light travels and how shadows are formed.

Science in Focus: Shedding Light on Science. Workshop 2. Laws of Light

Light energy has predictable properties when it interacts with matter.  This is a digital workshop to investigate the absorption, reflection, and refraction of light.

Cross Curricular Connections 

This standard is directly related to the Minnesota 3rd Grade Earth and Space Science Strand Standards.

  • 3.3.3.1  The sun and moon have locations and movements that can be observed and described.

Benchmarks:

  • 3.3.3.1.1 Observe and describe the daily and seasonal changes in the position of the sun and compare observations.
  • 3.3.3.1.2  Recognize the pattern of apparent changes in the moon's shape and position.
  • 3.3.3.2  Objects in the solar system as seen from Earth have various sizes and distinctive patterns of motion.

Benchmarks:

  • 3.3.3.2.1 Demonstrate how a large light source at a great distance looks like a small light that is much closer.

Assessment

Assessment of Students

And Then There Was Light Test Stations: Teachers could also set up centers or stations around the room in order to test students' mastery of the objectives.  Students would then move around the room from center to center with a Performance Assessment Sheet to complete the various activities.  Use the Performance Assessment as an outline.

Students should record investigation results/findings in their science notebooks.  After each investigation or part of an investigation, they should write a question related to their investigation.  Students should be engaged in self-assessments.

Ask students: What are three factors responsible for changing the frequency at which a string vibrates (its pitch)?  (Answer: length, gauge, and tension.)

Ask students: Draw a picture to show how light travels.  In your drawing, include each of the following: 

  • A way light may be absorbed.
  • A way light may be redirected.
  • A way light may be reflected.
  • A way light may be or allowed to pass through objects.

Assessment of Teachers

How can I best tap into the various learning modalities (audio, visual, tactile, kinesthetic, etc.) to meet the learning style preferences of as many students as possible?

What materials (books, videos, pneumonic devices, visual aids, props, etc.) are available to me for this lesson?

What relevant vocabulary do I need to present to my students during the lesson?

What will my students need to learn in order to complete the lesson plan's objectives and independent practice activities?

How can I engage my students in the lesson and encourage discussion and participation?

Differentiation

Struggling Learners 

Struggling and At-Risk

Use flexible grouping and small-group instruction on a regular basis.  Science students benefit from interacting and working together toward a common goal.  The goal might be completion of a laboratory exercise, problem-solving activity, or assigned project.  Teachers may introduce a concept with the entire class, then follow up with small group or pair work.  Groups should not be stagnant; frequent regrouping should occur based on complexity of content, student interest, student learning style, or other factors.

Have a variety of materials, resources, and texts available for student use.  Students exploring a concept should have access to written descriptions, graphic images, and audio-visual representations related to the topic.  A student with above or below grade-level reading ability will benefit from studying textbooks and reading materials at the appropriate level.  Supporting materials for investigation and experimentation should be readily available, and students should be trained in their use.

Develop learning stations.  Create areas in the classroom for independent or small-group investigation of a scientific principle or process.  Provide necessary materials and resources at each location.  The topic at each station should relate to a major theme of study.  Tasks should emphasize thinking skills and should force students to actively solve problems.  Move among students as they work, asking questions and cementing understanding.

Ref: Teaching Today: How-To Articles

English Language Learners 

Communicate using many formats.  Graphs, charts, and figures that do not rely primarily on written or spoken language to convey information can be extremely helpful.  Layout of visual aids should be clear and uncluttered.

Focus on key science terms.  Use short, less complex sentences to teach and reinforce important vocabulary before, during, and after the lesson.

Make use of students' background knowledge of science concepts.  Attempt to discover what ELLs already know about a given topic and build upon it.

Have students identify familiar terminology.  Many science terms are used internationally.  Ask students to inform you when they recognize this type of vocabulary.

Consider your seating plan.  Students with limited English proficiency or SpEd students might benefit from sitting closest to the instructor, to a student who might assist with translation, or to a particular classroom resource.

Provide additional opportunities for practice.  Students with limited English proficiency or SpEd students may need extra time and practice opportunities.

Ref: Teaching Today: How-To Articles

Extending the Learning 

The moon and the earth cast their own shadows.  Students may research and make observations to find out how an eclipse and shadows are related.

All living things need light.  Plants grow toward the light.  If the light is all around the plants, the plants grow straight up.  If the light comes from only one side, the plant will grow toward the light.  Students may use the following activity to make more observations:

Plant some grass seed in a small amount of soil in a small cup.  Once the grass seed has started to grow, place the cup in a shoe box with a hole cut in the side of the box.  Put the lid on the box so that the only light coming into the shoe box is through the side hole.  Remember to water the grass, but to replace the lid on the box.  After a week, notice how the grass is growing.

Multi-Cultural 

Develop learning stations.  Create areas in the classroom for independent or small-group investigation of a scientific principle or process.  Provide necessary materials and resources at each location.  The topic at each station should relate to a major theme of study.  Tasks should emphasize thinking skills and should force students to actively solve problems.  Move among students as they work, asking questions and cementing understanding.

Engage students in role play or simulation activities.  Activities based on authentic situations can stimulate learning in students with a variety of interests, learning styles, and abilities.  Design lessons around computer simulations, debates, or science topics currently in the news.  These types of activities have the power to engage students and encourage active learning.

Ref: Teaching Today: How-To Articles

Special Education 

Provide students with a sentence frame in order to form inquiry based questions (What is the effect of __________________ on _________________?) and generate explanations (I think _______________________ affects _________________________ because _______________________).  Create alternative lab sheets for struggling writers using pictures and fill-in-the-blanks.

 

Parents/Admin

Classroom Observation 

Administrators

Administrators can expect to see students engaged in hands-on learning both indoors and outdoors.  They can expect to hear students discussing observations of sound and light, and see students recording their observations in their science notebooks or other task sheets.  Administrators should find pictures of various light and sound concepts posted in the classroom.  The pictures posted may be student created.  Administrators may notice chalk drawings of student shadows on the school's sidewalks!

Parents 

Artist Bob Miller's "Light Walk" at the Exploratorium is always an eye-opening experience for students and teachers alike.  His unique discoveries will change the way you look at light, shadow, and images.

Sound/Music Resources by PBS Kids Design Squad (Fits with standard 3.2.3.1).  Hands-on challenges that focus on the engineering design process.  This site           includes video clips of real scientists and animations to visually explain concepts.

Hang a prism in a window and make observations with your child.

Darken the room and shine a flashlight on a wall.  Make shadow animals.