Home Works Elementary Education Distance Learning Curriculum

Developed by Annah H.

Edited by Maggie M.

Photo of Annah H

Essential Question:

We know we can hear sound, but do you think we can see sound? If so, how? 

Background Knowledge:

Students should know:

  •  Sound waves travel through the air as vibrations to produce sound to your ears.  
  • Sound waves bounce off of objects to move and produce sounds.


  • one large bowl  
  • one smaller bowl (Any 2 sizes are fine as long as they are different sizes) 
  •  plastic wrap 
  •  a small amount of uncooked rice 
  •  metal pan (cookie sheet, cake pan, etc.) 
  •  metal spoon 
  • tape 
  •  journal/notebook 
  •  pencil

Safety Protocols:

Plastic wrap containers can have sharp edges for tearing, be careful, and use parental supervision. The metal pan and spoon can be loud, wear protective ear wear if needed.

Activity Procedure:

Step 1: Gather all materials and open notebook to record your findings.

Do you think we will be able to see the sound wave vibrations? 

Step 2: Tear off a piece of plastic wrap big enough to cover the top of the bigger bowl. 

Step 3: Put the plastic wrap over the opening of the bowl. Make sure it is very tight around the entire opening. You may want to use tape to secure it on the sides. 

Step 4: Pour rice on top of the plastic wrap. A small amount of about 6-7 grains will work great. 

Will the rice move more on the big bowl, will it move more on the smaller bowl, or will it move evenly? Write down your prediction on paper.  

Step 5: Hold the metal pan close to the bowl and hit the pan a few times with the metal spoon. 

Did the rice move? What happens to the rice if you hit the pan and spoon together harder or softer? 

Step 6: Take the smaller bowl and make sure the opening is tightly covered with plastic wrap. 

Step 7: Place the 6-7 grains of uncooked rice on top of the smaller bowls plastic covering.  

Step 8: Hold the metal pan close to the bowl and hit the pan a few times with the metal spoon. 

Did the rice move? 

We know we can hear sound; can we see sound? How? 

Compare and contrast how the rice moved on the bowls. 

Do you think the size of the bowl affect the sound wave vibrations? 

What are some conclusions I can draw about sound waves based on the results? 

Step 10: With parent/guardian permission, share the results of your activity on social media using #AUHomeWorks!

Last modified: November 12, 2020