The Five Senses - Lesson 3: Hearing
BIG IDEAS: The sense of hearing helps us learn from each
other through communication. Sound can produce patterns.
On this page
- Encountering the Idea
- Exploring the Idea
- Getting the Idea
- Organizing the Idea
- Applying the Idea
- Closure and Assessment
- List of Activities for this Lesson
Whole Group Activities
- Book: Hearing by M. Rius, J. M. Parramon and J. J. Puig, then
placed in the Library Center
- Bag of large lima beans for the Mathematics Center
- Sticks, balls and bells that produce sound
- Sealed containers each holding one object or several different objects
- Tape recording of five different sounds; pictures of corresponding
- Yogurt containers or paper cups
- A pencil
- Lengths of string at least 12-feet long
- Language chart
- Tape recording of a fire alarm, a police siren, a shout for help; or other
sounds signaling danger
- Pamphlets showing a diagram of an ear, which can be obtained from an ear
The teacher goes behind a desk or tall bookcase so the students cannot see
what she is doing. She rings a bell and asks the students to guess what she
did. She repeats this with various objects that students cannot identify. She
then writes a note on a piece of paper, and again, asks what she did. The students say they
don't know because they can't see or hear. What sense were you using before?
Hearing. Without hearing it is hard to learn about the world. We would have to
use another sense.
What causes sound? You have to hit something? Is that the only way? You can talk.
What else? These are the questions we are going to investigate in the centers,
today, but before going to the learning centers, we are going to have group
- The teacher claps her hands, taps her foot, rings a bell, etc., a certain
number of times. The students count and tell how many times they heard a
- A child creates a pattern with different sounds (clapping, snapping his/her
fingers, dramatic sound effects, high or low voices, loud or soft voices, musical
instruments, stamping feet, etc.). Students repeat the patterns and create their
Tell students that sounds help us identify things. In one of the activities,
students will try to identify sounds. They will then select their favorite sound
and graph the information.
At the Science Center, the students
Students do the following:
- Each pair of students receives two yogurt containers and a length of
- The students make a hole in the bottom of each container with a pencil.
- The students thread the ends of the string through the holes in the
containers from the outside in, making a knot at each end of the string to keep the string
ends from slipping out of the holes.
- One partner stands at one end of the classroom while the other partner
moves as far away as needed to make the string taut.
- Each partner takes a turn speaking into the "phone" while the other listens
at the other end. Keep the string taut.
At the Mathematics Center:
- The teacher prepares several sealed containers holding one object or a
combination of several different objects. Students shake the containers and
describe the sounds they hear. They predict what's inside. They record their
predictions and then open the containers and compare predictions with actual
- Students shake several sealed containers and predict what's inside. They then
try to find and match one container with another that has the same objects
- Students take turns wearing blindfolds and listening to a partner drop beans
on the table. One player drops one then two beans in succession, for example:
drop ... drop drop. The blindfolded student says three - why? One plus two or one
plus one plus one. The students use different sound patterns through five.
At the Listening Center, students listen to a prepared tape of various
sounds and then guess what objects made the sounds, by matching sounds to picture
cards. Then they sort the picture cards of sounds by soft and loud. Students
listen to the sounds and arrange the pictures in the order in which they heard
At the Music Center the students identify the deepest, highest, loudest
and softest sound in the taped sounds.
At the Writing Center, children wear earplugs to experience being
hearing-impaired. Discuss and record emotions they felt on a language chart or
individual sheets that can be compiled into a class book. The students discuss
lip reading and sign language.
1. Read the book Hearing. The students discuss hearing as one of the five
senses that we use to learn about the world we live in. They discuss the things
they heard on their outdoor walks. Were all the sounds they heard pleasant? Was
there noise? Music? Did they hear laughter? Crying? What did they learn about the
world through the sense of hearing? Students make suggestions that are written on
a chart to be used later in the Writing Center.
2. After discussing with the students the activity with the paper "phones", ask
for suggestions as to how they work. After the students have given their ideas,
explain that when the talking partner speaks, the air in the container vibrates.
The string carries the vibrations to the container at the other end, and the
listening partner hears them as sounds.
3. What makes the sounds that our ears pick up? (Vibrations that travel in the
air.) Things need to vibrate before we can hear them. Did the paper phones
vibrate? The rubber band? Your throat?
4. As you show a diagram of the external and internal ear, describe how the
ears work. Play the tape recording of one of the sounds, or play a radio.
Ask the students to place their hands on the radio to feel the vibrations. Tell
them we can hear the music or the voice coming from the radio or tape player
because it is vibrating - it is making the air vibrate or move back and forth. As
the air moves back and forth, or vibrates, it makes sound waves. The sound
waves travel through the air in all directions. The waves reach the outer ear
and travel through the ear canal. As they travel in the ear canal,
they strike the eardrum, and make it begin to vibrate. These vibrations
make other parts of the ear, called the middle ear, vibrate.
As the middle ear begins to vibrate, a small part in the inner ear, called
the cochlea, begins to vibrate. The cochlea is a small bone shaped like a
seashell that is filled with liquid. As the shell, or cochlea, begins to vibrate
it makes the liquid inside it vibrate. The vibrations of the liquid tickle tiny
hairs that line the cochlea, causing them to vibrate and send a message to the
auditory nerve. This nerve also acts like an electrical wire and sends the
message to your brain. Remember, all of this has to do with vibrations.
When the brain receives the sound message, again it figures out what the sound
is, what is making the sound (the vibrations from the radio) and what you should
do about it (enjoy it if it is your favorite group). In the morning if you hear
your mother telling you to get up to go to school, you get up and hurry.
Your ears do more than just hear sounds - they help us keep our balance. The
inner ear helps us know if we are sitting, standing, lying down, or
hanging upside down! You know also that you can make yourself very dizzy and even
sick to your stomach by spinning yourself around for a long time.
Sounds can also help us get away from danger. Ask the students to describe the
process that they follow when there is a fire drill. What warns us of danger?
5. Ask students why they think that the class favorite sound was __________ in the
survey. After their explanations, ask them if all the sounds they hear are
pleasant? unpleasant? What does their sense of hearing tell them about
6. What else does our sense of hearing do for us? (It warns us of danger.)
1. Students study a sign language chart and pick out three words that they learn
to sign. They show what they have learned to the class.
2. Working in pairs, students practice lip reading from each other. They decide on
a message first and say it without sound, and the partner reads the lips.
3. Discuss with the students the proper care of ears. They make posters for hall
display indicating proper ear care and safety. At the Writing Center,
students dictate sentences listing what you should do and should not do to
Invite a piano tuner to demonstrate to the class how the sense of hearing helps
him or her perform the job. What kind of training does it take to become a piano
Invite a police officer, fire fighter or soldier to tell the class what the
hearing requirements are for the type of work he or she does. Why is the sense of
hearing important for each one of these jobs?
- How do we communicate with each other?
- What part of you body do you use to hear?
- Could you communicate if you couldn't hear? How?
- How would you feel if you couldn't hear? Why?
- Why and how do you have to take care of your ears?
Put pictures of objects in a box. Students sort them by things they can
hear (that make noise) and things they can't hear (don't make noise).
Given labels for ear parts and a diagram of the ear, students place
labels on a ear diagram.
- Sound is Vibration
- Talking Tubes
- Objects Vibrate
- Favorite and Alarming Sounds