Listen . . . How Does Sound Change? Let's Listen for PITCH

Listen . . . How Does Sound Change? Let's Listen for PITCH
Kathy Kampa-Vilina

Grade One students explore pitch through blowing into water bottles, listening to a slide whistle, and feeling the vibrations of the piano strings.

Vibrations are everywhere--even in our gingerale bottles! Gr. 1 conducted an experiment on pitch. Pitch is how HIGH or how LOW a sound is.

In the experiment, one bottle was empty and the other was filled with water. When I blew into the empty bottle and then the full bottle, students heard a difference in the pitch. The empty bottle sounded lower than the bottle with water.

Water was poured into the empty bottle. The pitch changed! When the water was the same level, the pitch was exactly the same.

Students learned that there is a column of air in the bottles. The vibrations go back and forth, moving the air.

In the picture above, you also see a slide whistle. Students predicted how that sound would change when the column of air in the tube is the longest and shortest. When the slide was extended, the pitch was low.

What surprised students about the sound? "It was so funny! It made me laugh!"

Then we took at trip to the Music Room to investigate the strings inside the piano. There were long, thick strings as well as short, thin strings. Students could feel the vibrations and hear the change in the pitch from low to high. They could see the hammers hitting the strings to make sounds.

Do you hear sounds changing in your home? Try the water bottle experiment at home.


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