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Whispering Walls

based on 5 ratings
Author: Judee Shipman

Grade Level: 9th - 12th; Type: Architecture/Acoustics

Objective: 

Design and demonstrate a whispering wall. The goals of this project are:     

  1. To illustrate the acoustics of whispering walls.     
  2. To design a fully functional whispering wall.     

Research Questions:     

  • What is a Whispering Wall?     
  • How is a whispering wall designed?     
  • Where are existing whispering walls located?    

“The walls have ears,” as the saying goes when people tell hushed secrets behind closed doors. Surprisingly, sometimes the walls whisper back. A whispering wall is an architectural structure designed for optimal acoustic range. Words softly whispered by someone at on end are clearly heard by someone at the other end, perhaps a hundred yards distant. In this project you will explore the acoustical wonders of whispering walls, and build your own whispering wall model.

Materials:  

  • Computer with Internet access     
  • Color printer     
  • Digital camera     
  • Typical office/hobby/hardware/craft supplies (paper, poster board, glue, etc.)

All necessary materials can be found in or around your home, at local stores, or on ebay.

Experimental Procedure:     

  1. Read overview of relevant topics (see bibliography below and terms listed above)     
  2. Address all of the above terms and research questions.     
  3. Search and print out interesting images relevant to your topic.     
  4. Take photographs throughout the course of the experiment.     
  5. If possible, visit existing whispering walls and test their acoustics.     
  6. Design and build your own whispering wall creation from wood, plastic or anything that works for you.  Test the different materials to see what works best.       
  7. Carefully record all observations.   
  8. Analyze your data.     
  9. Interpret your findings in a detailed report.     
  10. Include interesting photos, diagrams and your model in your science fair display.  

Terms/Concepts: Architectural Acoustics; Whispering Wall

References: 

 

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