Sound is one of the most important of our five senses. It fills our environment and can be used to express a whole spectrum of emotions. Even though sound waves are common and simple they have a huge influence on our life experiences. Everyday we are exposed to different sounds in our environment such as a bird chirping, a wave crashing or the roar of a thunder clap. Sound is responsible for a musician's ability to create works of drama, excitement and joy, However when an individual is exposed to a harmful sound such as instant blast or an over extended use of headphones delicate structures in our inner ears become damaged which may result in a condition known as Noise Induced Hearing Loss.
This unit deals with sound waves and their influence on our society and physiology. Its goal is to have students develop a scientific understanding of the properties of sound waves and how these properties when abused can lead to negative physiological changes in our ability to hear sounds. It is an interdisciplinary approach which utilizes the sciences, mathematics and the humanities. It begins by introducing the concept of a longitudinal sound wave. It briefly compares these waves to transverse waves but then delves deeper into the properties of sound waves. It describes how the human ear is able to pick up sound and carry the information back to the central nervous system. At this point it examines the delicate structures of the inner ear's auditory cells. We then look at the destructive capabilities of abusing the properties of sound waves and how this abuse can be detrimental to the survival of these cells and the quality of hearing ability. Students will read various articles on the effects of headphone use on younger adults hearing. Students will write a persuasive essay for or against extended iPod use. With this knowledge students will create an ad campaign for modern biomedical technology for improving hearing after damage is done.
I work in a health science and business magnet school and often my students look at these subjects as two different entities. However these subjects when brought together as a career can be quite lucrative. When an individual is exposed to the physics of sound a variety of opportunities for future study can blossom. Science oriented students can direct their studies in a physics, anatomy and/or biotechnological fields. Students interested in business will learn about products on the market that will be in high demand when they are in the business world.
This unit will be ideal for 9th and 10th grade classes. It reviews physical and biological applications which were previously covered in their past science classes while continuing to promote reading and writing across disciplines. Students will cover the properties of longitudinal waves, anatomy and physiology of the ear, basic algebra problems and writing a persuasive essay. This review will be important in taking the CAPT science, math, reading and writing tests. Individual activities will be bases on a learning cycle method. The method I will uses is based on scientific inquiry. Students begin by exploring an individual understanding of the scientific concept being taught. They then create a more pronounced understanding of the concept being taught through readings and teacher guided instruction. They conclude by applying the concept to a new situation. There are three phases to this learning cycle. The Concept Exploration Phase begins by introducing the concept in small collaborative groups. The teacher provides each group with a problem and physical materials, articles, data and or graphs. The student's responsibility is to solve the problem presented to them by the teacher. The teacher is there only to facilitate students with questioning and observations. At the end of the exploration phase students should reach a state of disequilibrium in which they formulate questions and hypotheses abut their observations. The Concept Development Phase allows each group to discuss their observations and hypotheses with the class. The role of the teacher is to provide definitions and explanations to the results and discussions of the groups findings. At this point I provide notes and multimedia visuals to explain the concept being taught. In the Concept Application Phase students are again placed in small groups and provided with another similar activity that places the concept to another situation in which the students must use their experience and information gained from the initial phases to solve another situation or problem.