Transferring Energy Through Sound

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Updated on Feb 09, 2012

Grade Level: 1st - 5th; Type: Physical Science

To understand how a vibrating object transfers energy to whatever it touches.

  • How is energy transferred?
  • How do vibrations create and transfer energy?

Vibrating objects produce energy.This energy can be transferred to objects like paper and water.Vibrating objects also produce sound.When doing so energy is transferred to the air and then enters our ear so that we hear sound.

  • Tuning fork
  • Piece of paper
  • Plastic container of water
  • Overhead projector (if available)

  1. Carefully strike the tuning fork against the bottom heel of your shoe. (Note: Striking a tuning fork against something hard can damage the tuning fork.This is why you should strike it on the rubbery sole of your shoe.)Observe the tuning fork…what do you hear and what do you see?Record your observations.(See sample chart.)
  2. Carefully strike the tuning fork again on the bottom heel of your shoe.Quickly hold the vibrating tuning fork next to a piece of paper.What did you observe?Record your observations including an illustration.
  3. Fill a plastic container half full with water.Place the container on top of an overhead projector, if available, and turn it on.If one is not available, just watch the water closely.
  4. Strike the tuning fork against the bottom heel of your shoe.Quickly stick the tuning fork into the water.Watch the movement on the wall or in the water.You just watched energy being transferred!Record your observations including an illustration.

Sample chart:

Transferring energy sounds like…
Transferring energy
looks like…
Tuning fork

Tuning fork against paper

Tuning fork in water

Terms/Concepts: Sound; Vibration; Energy; Energy transfer


Angela Pike has been in the world of elementary education for almost a decade, working as a classroom teacher, school writing specialist, and later a school administrator. After a recent leave from the education realm to stay at home with her children, she channeled her passion for education, science, and writing into a composing articles and educational activities for various companies.

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