Teaching Physical Science with Children’s Literature: Sound and Light


Introduction and Summary
Sound and Light by David Glover gives a great overview of what sound and light are and how we use them. This book provides a section for topics like: lightning and thunder, sound waves, feeling sound, making sound, making music, moving sound, bouncing sound, how do you hear?, light waves, light and shade, look in the mirror, amazing mirrors, bending light, how lenses work, how do you see?, and light of many colors.   For example, on the section about bouncing sound they talk about echoes by saying, “Echoes are louder when they hit a hard barrier, like the walls of a tunnel.  Soft materials, like carpets and drapes, absorb or soak up sound.  That’s why you will hear and echo in an empty room but will not in one that is full of furniture.”  For each topic discussed, there are experiments or projects that you can do at home.  There is an experiment that discusses color blindness in some people by using the colored dot “eye-spy” pictures.   This would really interest the children. Overall this is a great book that covers many specific topics and provides easy to read and understand explanations and experiments.

Curriculum Connections

Students can learn about sound waves, how they travel, vibrations, how music is made and heard, wavelengths, and overall how sound is transmitted through different materials like rope, straws, rubber bands, and even air (VA SOL 5.2 a,b,c).This book offers easy explanations of how sound waves work, are transmitted, and how we as humans hear them.  The other half of the book discusses light, light waves, light in mirrors, bending light, reflections, and seeing colors through a prism (VA SOL 5.3 a,c).  Again, there are some great experiments to go along with these topics like bending light and making you own rainbow with a mirror and dishwater.

Additional Resources
1. Sonic Speed Activity– This activity uses rulers and a paper towel tube to show how lightning and thunder actually occur at the same time even though it does not appear that way to us.  This is a cool experiment and gets students learning about what really happens during a thunderstorm.
2. History of Sound– This website would be great to provide background knowledge for teachers on the history of sound.  It starts in 1877 when Thomas Edison made the first machine that could record sound and goes until 1990. So, this website does not provide the most recent information (1990-current).
3. Light Vocabulary– This page offers a light vocabulary crossword puzzle.
4. Reflecting light– This is a worksheet that deals with reflecting light. It provides and activity for the students to complete and then asks follow up questions.

General Information
Sound and Light
Author- David Glover
Illustrator-Ben White (designer)
Publisher-Scholastic, INC.
 Publication Date-1993
 Grade Range- 4th-5th Grade

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