How Can We Send a Message Using Sound?

How Can We Send a Message Using Sound?

How Can We Send a Message Using Sound? is part of Smithsonian Science for the Classroom, a brand new curriculum series by the Smithsonian Science Education Center. It is aligned to a group of grade 1 standards. It has a focus on engineering with a secondary focus on physical science. In this module, students:

  • Identify the problem of how to send a message a long distance
  • Learn that patterns of sounds can be used to send a message without speaking
  • Collect evidence to build a claim that sound is caused by something vibrating
  • Test different materials to find the ones that make the best kazoo
  • Construct an explanation for how we hear
  • Use their understanding of sound to make a simple musical instrument that can send a message

Below are digital resources that support teaching of this module.


Module Background Information

Lemelson Center - For the Study of Invention and Innovation
This link gives examples of inventions and invention stories.

The Talking Drums
This link gives information on talking drums.

Claims and Evidence
This link gives more information on the difference between a claim, an explanation, and evidence.


Lesson 1: Pass It On
Lesson 2: Zoo Game
Lesson 3: Science of Sound

Set of Sound Stop cards
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Lesson 5: Sound of Music

"The Fox"

Lesson 6: Kazoo Kraziness

"When the Saints Go Marching In"

Lesson 7: Make It Jump

Salt Jumping
Download Video

Lesson 9: Help Hopper Cross the River Part 1

Ada Asks Design Challenge


Download PDF

Download PDF


Lesson 10: Help Hopper Cross the River Part 2
Kit Tips & Tricks