Friday, March 30, 2012

Science is Fun—a vibration/sound demo suite

Science program funding can be a sad thing. But it can also be a funny thing. This year, I was lucky enough to have a $1000 budget for consumables. I don't always have such a luxury, but it can be something o a challenge to classify what I need and use as "consumable."

In physics, we ten to benefit from large, one-time capital outlays. These investments can endure through thousands of student contacts. But they don't qualify as consumables.

One item I did get with my consumable budget is a class set of Arbor Scientific's Talkie Tapes.

I allowed the potential for classroom use marinate in my mind up until our waves unit. Last Monday, I set about the task of writing a student handout o accompany the Talkie Tapes.

I decided the student activity would qualify as a demo rather than a lab. My initial write-up consisted of Talkie Tape use instructions, alone. The essential point was to connect vibrations to sound.

While doing the activity in class, my serendipitous mind stumbled onto extensions and enhancements.

By Wednesday, the activity also included my skeptical lesson involving "backmasking," And my disembodied musical box mechanism. And Honda's 2009 Musical Road commercial.

All these "tangents" we're items kicking around in my waves unit, but they didn't really have a home. Now they do.

We do the back asking activity first s that students understand audio pareidolia (constructing a pattern where no pattern really exists). So when they try to decipher the "tale of the tape" (audio embedded in the bumps of the Talkie Tape), they understand that it helps to have a hint. The title of the activity provides such a suggestion.

After hearing the Talkie Tape through air and bone conduction, students amplify the sound using Dixie cups. Great time to bring in the disembodied musical box mechanism and talk about the amplification it enjoys when connected to bigger air movers.

Then it's time to enjoy the large-scale version of the Talkie Tape: Honda's 2009 Musical Road project. We close by comparing the road to the tape and determining a groove spacing used to make a certain note on the roadway.

All in all, a very groovy activity. It was fun to originate and modify it so that it became a nicely laid out vessel for several related sound demos.

Science is Fun! Demonstration at The Book of Phyz
Jeff Milner's Backmasking Page (Paparazzi and Stairway are recommended; use Baby One More Time at your discretion)
Talkie Tapes
Music Box Mechanism
2009 Honda Civic Musical Road on YouTube

No comments: