A Study of Sound Waves OR How to Regret Encouraging the Study of Sound Waves

(DISCLAIMER: I have a headache that started 5 months ago. The timing for this unit technically could have been worse, but probably not much worse. Please forgive my bad attitude and just take it as the real honest me – another option is you could just not read this post. And that is also completely fine.)

Sounds Waves… that just sounds so incredibly interesting. Invisible distortions of various mediums pushing energy in every direction until those little waves finally hit your ears and you say, “please stop screaming at your brothers!!!” And you pause for a moment of reflection. Why in the world am I encouraging the little kiddlers to blast out my ears ON PURPOSE?

If we were having better weather I would have done all of this outside. As it is, up until the last two days, we still have month old snow (lots of it) piled up all over the place and starting to get soggy. (Less than ideal weather for doing much of anything outside.)

That is my only advice if you are planning to introduce your children to the scientific world of noise – not that many of them actually need it. Wait until it is warmer and let them make all the noise they want out of doors.

I don’t want to sound too pessimistic here. In fact, I started this post a few days ago, was too irritated just thinking about it, and have now come back to it with a better mood in the hopes that I can get through this and realize it wasn’t actually all that bad.

It really wasn’t actually all that bad.

I did have a melt down while we were making mardi gras bead waves on the kitchen floor. The point of this exercise was to show waves of energy flowing through a medium (the beads) and show differences in crests and troughs.dsc06974

What I learned was our kitchen is not big enough for four children to noisily rustle beads back and forth against the laminate flooring while bickering and fighting over whose turn it was all a the same time. I didn’t handle it well. ( The HONEST homeschool, right? I’m still me.)

On another day we discussed wavelengths and frequency. We made a sound wave detector (like a little drum) and put salt crystals on top. The salt crystals were supposed to bounce around as we hummed and vibrated the cellophane of the drum.

This did not work.

Which kind of hampered the next day’s experiment that also required the so called sound wave detector.

So instead we watched “The Magic Schoolbus” and some other sort of strange “for kids” videos dealing with sound waves, etc., on YouTube.

You know, some days things just don’t go like you planned.

Which is why YouTube was invented, I am sure.

At least all those YouTube meditation videos. (Stress relief healing noises, so I hear)

(Here’s one that was recommended to me. My preschooler doesn’t like it because he doesn’t like hearing the same sounds “over and over and over again.” You know what? Me either. But I prefer these sounds over whining and bickering over and over and over….)

WARNING: The bad mood is coming back. Good thing I just turned on that YouTube meditation music. Give me a minute and things will be fine.

Big breath in.

Big breath out.

Alright, moving on.  Amplitude! We made megaphones. (I know, you are shaking your head saying “Why? Anna, Why?” Because it was going to be fun, ok!) The children loved this! I think I had to leave the room. And later come back and confiscate the megaphones.

Outside. This would have been so ideal had we been outside.

For the grand finale of this short unit we went on a field trip to the semi-local children’s museum. It was a lot of fun. We brought another homeschooler and homeschooling mom with us and then happened to bump into another homeschooling family while we were there. It is hard sometimes to find enough older kids to play with, but all the sudden we had three, and the boys had so much fun. All the children had so much fun. It was really a wonderful day for them.

The point of going to this particular museum was a sound booth room where the kids could experiment with different sounds and instruments and whatnot. I assumed something in there would have something to do with sound waves, but I remembered incorrectly. It is mostly just a couple of rooms with lots and lots of noise.

Kids = Happy.

Me = Waited outside = Totally fine with that.

So at the end of the day (or unit, I should say) things didn’t go very smoothly all the time, but we all still love each other and are kind and gentle.  And even if they don’t remember the exact definition of words like frequency, amplitude, crest, trough, and wavelength (length of a wave) at least they got to watch a fun Magic Schoolbus episode!

And as I am typing, that little preschooler just walked in the room and asked if he could lay down on the floor and listen quietly to “that soft music,” aka the meditation stuff he doesn’t like which is playing in the background. Now he has reminded me that he actually doesn’t like hearing the same sounds over and over and over again.

I am right there with ya, buddy.

Goodnight, sweetheart.

Here’s a little music to help you sleep better. Let me know if it works!