KS1 Variety of Sounds

The sound part of the KS1 presentation explores the variety of sounds using musical bells of different pitch, a large tuning fork, a bicycle hooter, a sonic gun, wine glasses, a singing blackbird and tones generated on a vibrating loudspeaker.

Some ideas of loudness, highness (pitch0, niceness (musicality) and tingling (vibration) can be explored using these examples.

This part of the workshop makes a good start to gaining young children's interest and confidence as they come out to help with making the noises.

KS1 Shadows

The rest of this KS1 workshop works better if lighting levels can be dimmed using full curtaining of hall or classroom windows.

The action of card in blocking light is shown by a pupil putting the card between a lamp and a solar helicopter. The helicopter rotor stops turning. In contrast pupils find that coloured plastic sheets do not succeed in stopping the rotor as they let light get through.

Now pupils are ready to make some shadows using various brightly coloured shapes -parrot, duck, fish and crocodile - held in front of the video projector. After seeing how position and light colour affect shadows, a desert island screen picture forms the backdrop for some fun shadow play.


KS1 Mirrors

A laser beam is used to find out more about mirrors. First the children see how far the beam can go forming a bright red spot on the wall. Then a volunteer intercepts the beam reflecting it up to the ceiling. Children are surprised at how much the light spot moves when the mirror is turned slightly.

Now help is needed to direct a laser beam at a tiny mirror stuck to the loudspeaker cone. It again reflects to the ceiling but now children are excited to see the spot dance around when the speaker is turned on and the tone and loudness altered.

If conditions are dark enough, a spray gun can be used to show up the laser beam.

KS1 Fun

The KS1 workshop finishes with three fun applications of light.

The first involves a bright light sourceand a small solar-powered frog which hops out of the light.

Then a solar buggy is placed in front of the lamp and can be made to move towards or away from the lamp depending on which solar cell is lit

The last item involves a large plasma ball. Pupils help to show its strange properties and to do some magic with a fluorescent tube. The tube lights up when held near the plasma ball.

KS2 Vibrations

Sound vibrations is a key concept at Key Stage 2 and this workshop makes a big effort to involve pupils in checking the topic out.

A table tennis ball on a string kicks sharply when touched by a vibrating tuning fork

The vibrations of a speaker can be shown using bouncing table tennis balls or by reflecting a laser beam off a small mirror mounted on its cone.

A candle flame (see picture) is seen to wobble (large on screen for all to watch using the camcorder zoom) when a nearby speaker is turned up.

KS2 Pitch

Pupils enjoy investigating the sounds made by wine glasses of different sizes. Good quality glasses are neded for this. With practice, volunteers can get a wine glass to 'ring' and all soon agree that the larger glass emits the lower note.

Tuning forks of different sizes reinforce the idea and the concept of resonance can be touched on using matching fork and plastic tube.

A couple of vibration generator demos using stretched elastic and hacksaw blades of different lengths also show the link between size and pitch rather well.

KS2 Laser Beams

Small lasers are marvellous aids for optical demonstrations because of their brightness and concentrated beams.

A volunteer shows how a mirror can reflect a laser beam on to the ceiling and that the red spot there can be moved a long way with only a small movement of the mirror. The pupil is then asked to aim the beam at a tiny mirror fixed to the cone of a large loudspeaker. When the speaker is switched on, the spot dances around on the ceiling in a very entertaining way!

The idea of colour filters is reinforced using a red and blue laser. Pupils investigate which filter these 'monochromatic' beams can penetrate. A logger can be used here if time permits.

More engagingly still, a laser beam carries music to a receiver. The music is fed into the special laser from an i-pod and pupils try intercepting the beam (and attempting to stop the music) using different filters. The same rseults emerge from a simple burglar alarm .. a variation on the theme.

KS2 Fun

A plasma ball is used to light up a long fluorescent tube. Various tricks can then be played using this set-up provided the school hall can be sufficiently darkened.

An electric buggy powered by 2 separate solar cells generating opposite polarities provides some fun puzzles at KS2. How can the direction of the buggy be controlled? What would happen if the 2 solar cells acted together?

A sound analyser (cathode ray oscilloscope) and microphone are used to demonstrate the nature of pure sound tones and pupils can try their skill at singing a pure note. Using a keyboard, the wave pattern from different musical instrument can also be seen.

Risk Assessments

The laser beams used in these workshops are all Class 2 and therefore pose little risk to pupils. Their use is supervised at all times and the special modulated laser is operated by key only.

When lighting the candle for the vibration demonstration, the usual safety precautions must be taken.