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Year 4 Sound workshop

(can be taught to other year groups)

Learn about the science and history of sound, listen to a

REAL Edison phonograph and make brilliant music box songs! 



National Curriculum suggested year group:

Year 4

Duration (for single class, multiple classes normally share a day with one or two sessions each):

Half day or a single session as part of a science day

NC objectives covered:

identify how sounds are made, associating some of them with something vibrating /Recognise that vibrations from sounds travel through a medium to the ear /  find patterns between the volume of a sound and the strength of the vibrations that produced it

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Our year 4 'Wonder of Sound' science workshop makes the most of the amazing properties of sound to not only teach the basics of the physics behind the sounds we hear, but also to extend pupils' knowledge about the history of recorded sound which led to the recording of the songs that they listen to today.


This story is told via an interactive presentation, filled with factual science and historical examples of the development of sound and its essential uses through the ages, such as a demonstration of a bell inside a vacuum chamber to show how sound travels through air and many more fun front of class activities.


The workshop then continues with pupils listening to a real 1898 Thomas Edison phonograph before making their own paper strip music box songs, to listen to in the workshop and to keep as a memento for home or your topic books.

Demonstrating the phonograph

Demonstrating the phonograph

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Activities in this Key Stage 2 sound workshop

(This can be for one class, several classes in turn, or choose one activity as part of a multi science day with other classes)

1) Presentation on the science

and history of sound

This timeline-based presentation takes pupils through the core science of how sound is produced from it's creation at it's source via vibrations to a detailed explanation of the way it interacts with the human ear. 


This covers ALL the National Curriculum topic objectives with fun front of class demonstrations and mini experiments for pupils to take part in. 


We then move on to the history of recorded sound with a look at the development of the phonograph leading into the music making task later on.

year 4 sound primary science school workshop identifying sound vibrations

2) Making music with magnificent music boxes!

year 4 sound primary science school workshop making music

One of the most popular musical instruments for hundreds of years, music boxes have a unique sound that are familiar to many people throughout the world.


Pupils look at how a music box produces sound with its unique arrangement of vibrating 'combs' before cutting their own paper music strips to play in the bespoke music boxes provided.  


Whilst these are only playable in the workshop on our special machines you are free to record 'performances' of their music for later viewing and listening and keep the sheets to take home or paste into topic books as a memento of their learning.

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