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Sound Topic Guide

We are surrounded by sounds every day. Whether a sound is quiet or loud, it travels in the same way. Molecules in the air vibrate, causing waves. When they reach our ears, tiny hairs pick up the vibrations and send messages to the brain, which converts them into sound.

The loudest sound ever heard on Earth is believed to be the eruption of the volcano Krakatoa (Krakatau) in Indonesia, on the 27th of August 1883; it was heard 3,000 miles away!

Teach your children about sound using our handy topic guide!

Choose a section:
Teaching Ideas | Resources | Facts | Videos | Books | Links

Teaching Ideas

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Resources

  • Download our Sound Pack. It is full of resources for teaching about sound.

Sound Teaching Pack

Sound Facts

  • Sound travels in waves at about 767 miles (1,230 kilometres) an hour.
  • Some animals, such as dolphins and dogs, can hear high frequency sounds that cannot be detected by the human ear.
  • Sound is measured in decibels. Normal conversation is around 60 decibels. Being in a noisy environment (over 70 decibels) for a long time can damage your hearing.
  • Sound cannot travel through space, because there are no molecules to vibrate.
  • The study of sound waves is known as acoustics.

Videos

What is sound?

What is sound and how do we hear it? A great explainer video for older primary children.

Running time: 7:11

What Is Echolocation?

How do some animals use sound to find out about their surroundings?

Running time: 6:19

Seeing Sound

This astonishing video uses a steel pan and coloured sand to show how sound waves travel.

Running time: 3:17

Why do we hear echoes?

Older children will enjoy this explanation of echoes.

Running time: 3:38

How does sound travel?

A short explanation of sound waves.

Running time: 2:52

How the Ears Work

This short video gives a good explanation of how human ears work.

Running time: 2:04

Books

Little Beaver and the Echo

Little Beaver doesn’t have a friend, so when he hears crying he sets off to find one.

Harriet Vs The Galaxy

Harriet finds out that her hearing aid can do more than she knew, and sets off on a space adventure.

Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear?

Younger children love this rhyming story about animal sounds.

The Sound of Silence

How can Yoshio find silence in the city?

Spectacular Light and Sound

Discover amazing facts about sound and light.

Clang!

Even the Emperor wants to hear about these sound experiments!

Science Encyclopedia

A great all round science reference book.

Are you teaching your children about other topics? Explore our full collection of guides!

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