Sound Energy: Lesson for Kids

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  • 0:04 What Is That Sound?
  • 0:26 Good Vibrations
  • 1:09 Changing the Tune
  • 1:49 Sound Is Motion
  • 2:41 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Jason Brunken

Jason is a certified teacher with a Masters in Educational Technology and over 12 years of classroom teaching experience.

Energy is all around us. We see it in light and feel it in heat, but what is it we hear? The answer is sound! Music, the mosquito buzzing in your ear, and the crack of the baseball bat are all examples of energy we can hear: sound.

What Is That Sound?

Have you ever stopped to listen to the thrum of the cicadas or the whoosh of a sudden summer downpour? Have you ever laid in bed and listened to the gentle hum of your fan or even the beating of your own heart? If so, you have been listening to sound. Sound is energy that we can hear. It is a type of kinetic energy that moves through the air and other matter in the form of sound waves.

Good Vibrations

While sound waves are different than the waves you might see in the ocean, they move much the same way: through matter. Sound waves are made by vibration, or the fast, back and forth movement of something. That means that all sound is vibration. If you can hear it, it's vibrating. Your heart? Vibrating. Click of the mouse? Vibration.

Sound is made when a force acts on an object and makes it vibrate. The vibration pushes against matter, like the air, and moves away from the force through the matter in the form of a compression wave. This means that if there is no air or water or other matter for the wave to travel through, there will be no sound. One place that happens is in space. With no air, when things crash together, no sound is made.

Changing the Tune

You are well aware that all sound is not the same. How boring would that be? Instead, sound comes in many kinds. Some sounds are soft while others are very loud. This is a sound's loudness. The more force used to make the vibration, the louder the sound.

Sound can also be high or low. This is called a sound's pitch. High pitches are made when an object vibrates very quickly, like a rubber band pulled tight. When an object vibrates more slowly, though, like a big rubber band not pulled very tightly, it makes a low pitch. Instruments like a piano have many strings inside of different lengths and tightness so when they are struck or strummed, they make different pitches.

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