Ride the Waves

Can sound waves be used as a way to communicate?

Imagine whispering a word as soft as you can to your friend sitting next to you. In a bustling coffee shop, s/he wouldn’t hear a thing, but in a quiet room, you might be able to decipher the word.

This is not the case for the sounds that students learned about in the book “Super Sounds”, by Sharon Disher. These sounds are a “secret” language of their own. They are incomprehensible by the human ear, even in the quietest place. However, there are many animals such as whales, bats, and dolphins, that use this secret form of communication. It is called Echolocation. In order to swim with the dolphins, students learned about the art of these “secret sounds.”

In this activity, students built old fashioned cup phones to simulate how sound waves travel through air; riding the waves created by vibrations that move along the lengthy piece of yarn that connects the two plastic cups.



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