Sound Waves: Lesson Plan

Sound is a form of energy that occurs when vibrating materials produce waves that move through matter.

UNC-TV Media

Alignment to NC Essential Standards

  • 6.P.1.3 — Explain the relationship among the rate of vibration, the medium through which vibrations travel, sound and hearing.

Learning Outcomes

  • Students will list major characteristics of sound waves 
  • Students will describe the ways in which frequency and amplification impact sound waves

Essential Vocabulary

  • Sound frequency
  • Sound waves
  • Amplitude
  • Radar
  • Pitch
  • Acoustics
  • Vibration


Students will watch the NC Science Now video Acoustic Architecture, and discuss the following questions:

Discussion Questions (optional print-out):

  1. How is “acoustics” defined in the video? 
  2. What are the major challenges for the builders of the cathedral, regarding acoustics? 
  3. Why do you think the acoustic design for the cathedral needed to consider the building’s “angles and corners” ? 
  4. How is “scattering” defined in the video?


Students will watch the PBS LearningMedia video segment "Sound", and take notes on the following:

  1. How is sound created? 
  2. How does amplification impact a sound wave? 
  3. How does frequency impact a sound wave? 
  4. What does the Hertz measure? 
  5. What is the range of sound frequency that humans can hear? 
  6. What are ways scientists and doctors use sound measurements?


Go through the School for Champions lesson Overview of Sound Waves with students.

Discussion Questions: 

  1. Would you be able to hear an explosion in outer space? Why or why not? 
  2. How are sound waves different from light waves? 
  3. What is the equation that explains the relationship among velocity, wavelength and frequency?


Students will watch the NC Science Now video Secrets of Guilford Courthouse Battlefield.

Discussion Questions (optional print out):

  1. Who lost more soldiers at the Battle of Guilford Courthouse? 
  2. Who won the battle itself? 
  3. How did the American forces leave the battle? 
  4. Why are archeologists using a radar device at the Guilford Courthouse National Military Park? 
  5. How does the radar convey detected objects?


Students will illustrate the following to indicate their understanding of sound:

  1. A sound wave, with a line indicating its center, to be used as a base 
  2. The sound wave impacted by: 
    1. higher amplitude 
    2. lower amplitude
  3. The sound wave impacted by 
    1. higher frequency 
    2. lower frequency