FOSS Module Summary

Module Summary – Physics of Sound (2nd Ed.)


The Physics of Sound Module consists of four sequential investigations, each designed to expose a specific set of concepts. Students learn to discriminate between sounds generated by dropped objects, how sounds can be made louder or softer and higher or lower, how sounds travel through a variety of materials, and how sounds get from a source to a receiver. The investigations provide opportunities for students to explore the natural and humanmade worlds by observing and manipulating materials in focused settings using simple tools.


  • Observe and compare sounds to develop discrimination ability.
  • Communicate with others using a drop code.
  • Learn that sound originates from a source that is vibrating and is detected at a receiver such as the human ear.
  • Understand the relationship between the pitch of a sound and the physical properties of the sound source (i.e. length of vibrating object, frequency of vibrations, and tension of vibrating string).
  • Compare methods to amplify sound at the source and at the receiver.
  • Observe and compare how sound travels through solids, liquids, and air.
  • Use knowledge of the physics of sound to solve simple sound challenges.
  • Acquire vocabulary associated with the physics of sound.
  • Exercise language, social studies, and math skills in the context of the physics of sound.
  • Develop and refine the manipulative skills required for investigating sound.
  • Use scientific thinking processes to conduct investigations and build explanations: observing, communicating, comparing, and organizing.

For a description of each investigation in the Physics of Sound Module and the correlations to the National Science Education Standards, download the Module Overview PDF.

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