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Investigating Sound Insulators

In this worksheet, students will anwser questions about how to investigate materials which absorb sound.

'Investigating Sound Insulators' worksheet

Key stage:  KS 2

Curriculum topic:  Sound

Curriculum subtopic:  How Sounds Travel

Difficulty level:  

Worksheet Overview

QUESTION 1 of 10

The materials around us have different properties. They may be hard, soft, shiny, electrical conductors or heat insulators - and that's just a few!

 

Scientist and designers choose materials for their properties. We know that loud noises can damage our ears and that we sometimes want to INSULATE sounds so that they sound softer or quieter.

 

Loud noise

 

To find out which materials are the best sound insulators, we carry out an investigation.

Kailib and Julie are investigating sound insulators. They decide to use cups to make their own ear defenders.

 

Plastic cup Polystyrene cup Paper cup
PLASTIC CUP POLYSTYRENE CUP PAPER CUP

 

Kaiib says: "I'm going to use a paper cup and a plastic cup to make my ear defenders."

Julie says: "I'm going to use two cups made of the same material."

 

Which student do you think is making the right choice?

Kailib

Julie

Help Kailib understand why BOTH his cups must be made of the same material. 

to match

to keep the test FAIR

to be symmetrical

They collect the following materials:

 

  • paper
  • bubble wrap
  • fur fabric
  • thin plastic

 

To keep the test fair, they must keep which FACTOR the same?

softness

colour

size

Kailib has learnt about properties of materials.

 

Which property is he investigating using these different materials?

softness

thickness

waterproofness

Kailib and Julie decide to use the volume scale on their CD player. They will use the same CD track to test each pair of ear defenders that they make.

 

They stuff two cups with a sheet of each material.

 

They now have 4 pairs of ear defenders:

 

  • paper
  • bubble wrap
  • fur fabric
  • thin plastic

 

Finish Julie's sentence: "Before we start we must....."

listen to the CD

decorate the cups

make a prediction

The students take turns to hold their ear defenders over their ears.

Starting with the music loud, they slowly turn it down and record the volume level when they can no longer hear the music.

 

They record their results:

 

MATERIAL VOLUME (K) VOLUME (J)
 Paper  20  25
 Bubble Wrap  60  60
 Fur Fabric  75  70
 Thin Plastic  10  15

 

Which material is the BEST sound insulator?

MATERIAL VOLUME (K) VOLUME (J)
 Paper  20  25
 Bubble Wrap  60  60
 Fur Fabric  75  70
 Thin Plastic  10  15

 

Which material is least effective at insulating sound?

Which of these, using your knowledge of sound and materials, do you think was the best prediction?

The soft materials will absorb most sound

The hard materials will absorb most sound

The materials will absorb sound equally

Kailib wants to use the data to SHOW their results.

 

Which one of these diagrams should Kailib use?

a line graph

a scatter graph

a bar graph

a pie chart

Julie thinks of ways to improve her investigation next time.

 

Which TWO of these could she use?

repeat each reading 3 times

play a different CD

ask more students to test the ear defenders

use bigger cups

  • Question 1

Kailib and Julie are investigating sound insulators. They decide to use cups to make their own ear defenders.

 

Plastic cup Polystyrene cup Paper cup
PLASTIC CUP POLYSTYRENE CUP PAPER CUP

 

Kaiib says: "I'm going to use a paper cup and a plastic cup to make my ear defenders."

Julie says: "I'm going to use two cups made of the same material."

 

Which student do you think is making the right choice?

CORRECT ANSWER
Julie
EDDIE SAYS
The material the cups are made of is one of the VARIABLES or FACTORS.
  • Question 2

Help Kailib understand why BOTH his cups must be made of the same material. 

CORRECT ANSWER
to keep the test FAIR
EDDIE SAYS
Remember, if you change two factors and the results are different, you won't know which of the factors you changed made the difference. Only change ONE thing at a time!
  • Question 3

They collect the following materials:

 

  • paper
  • bubble wrap
  • fur fabric
  • thin plastic

 

To keep the test fair, they must keep which FACTOR the same?

CORRECT ANSWER
size
EDDIE SAYS
They must cut sheets of these materials the same size to keep the test fair.
  • Question 4

Kailib has learnt about properties of materials.

 

Which property is he investigating using these different materials?

CORRECT ANSWER
softness
EDDIE SAYS
Paper and thin plastic are both thin. Plastic and bubble wrap are both waterproof. Remember only ONE factor can be changed to keep the test fair.
  • Question 5

Kailib and Julie decide to use the volume scale on their CD player. They will use the same CD track to test each pair of ear defenders that they make.

 

They stuff two cups with a sheet of each material.

 

They now have 4 pairs of ear defenders:

 

  • paper
  • bubble wrap
  • fur fabric
  • thin plastic

 

Finish Julie's sentence: "Before we start we must....."

CORRECT ANSWER
make a prediction
EDDIE SAYS
Julie and Kailib say what they THINK WILL HAPPEN - they make a PREDICTION.
  • Question 6

The students take turns to hold their ear defenders over their ears.

Starting with the music loud, they slowly turn it down and record the volume level when they can no longer hear the music.

 

They record their results:

 

MATERIAL VOLUME (K) VOLUME (J)
 Paper  20  25
 Bubble Wrap  60  60
 Fur Fabric  75  70
 Thin Plastic  10  15

 

Which material is the BEST sound insulator?

CORRECT ANSWER
fur fabric
EDDIE SAYS
Fur fabric absorbs the sound at a higher volume (loudness) before it reaches their ears. That means that this material cut out the sound at the highest volume compared with the others.
  • Question 7
MATERIAL VOLUME (K) VOLUME (J)
 Paper  20  25
 Bubble Wrap  60  60
 Fur Fabric  75  70
 Thin Plastic  10  15

 

Which material is least effective at insulating sound?

CORRECT ANSWER
thin plastic
EDDIE SAYS
Looking at the results, thin plastic has the lowest reading, so is the worst of the sound insulators they tested. As they reduced the volume (loudness) they could hear the sound through the thin plastic all the way down until it reached level 10/15.
  • Question 8

Which of these, using your knowledge of sound and materials, do you think was the best prediction?

CORRECT ANSWER
The soft materials will absorb most sound
EDDIE SAYS
Like with any prediction, you have to use what you already know to decide on what you THINK is going to happen. Then you run the investigation to see what ACTUALLY happens and whether this matches your prediction or is different.
  • Question 9

Kailib wants to use the data to SHOW their results.

 

Which one of these diagrams should Kailib use?

CORRECT ANSWER
a bar graph
EDDIE SAYS
A bar graph of results would show which material was the best sound insulator. They could put the materials along the bottom axis and then a bar going up to a certain height according to the amount it insulated the sound. It's a really good way of VISUALISING (seeing) the results.
  • Question 10

Julie thinks of ways to improve her investigation next time.

 

Which TWO of these could she use?

CORRECT ANSWER
repeat each reading 3 times
ask more students to test the ear defenders
EDDIE SAYS
As scientists, we must collect as much data as we can to back-up our predictions. Repeating the measurements, or asking more students to do the test will improve the accuracy of their results.
---- OR ----

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