Explore Together (indoors): Listening Through Tubes

  • a variety of cardboard tubes, including cardboard tubes from toilet paper, paper towels, and wrapping paper
  • predict
  • sound
  • tube

MA Standards:

Speaking and Listening: SL.PK.MA.1 Participate in collaborative conversations with diverse partners during daily routines and play.

MA Draft STE Standards:

Physical Sciences/Matter and Its Interactions/ PS4.A Investigate different sounds made by different objects and different materials and reason about what is making the sounds. [Cause and Effect]

Head Start Outcomes:

Logic and Reasoning/Reasoning and Problem Solving Recognizes cause and effect relationships.
Logic and Reasoning/Reasoning and Problem Solving Classifies, compares, and contrasts objects, events, and experiences.

PreK Learning Guidelines:

Science and Technology/Inquiry Skills 1 Ask and seek out answers to questions about objects and events with the assistance of interested adults.
Science and Technology/Inquiry Skills 2 Make predictions about changes in materials or objects based on past experience.

Explore Together (indoors): Listening Through Tubes

© Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Department of Early Education and Care (Jennifer Waddell photographer). All rights reserved.

STEM Key Concepts: Sounds sound different when they travel through a hollow object

ELA Focus Skills: Listening and Speaking, Vocabulary, Making Connections, Fine Motor Skills

Have children explore listening to sounds through tubes. Display the materials for children. Give each child a tube. Ask, How do you think we can use these tubes for listening?

Demonstrate holding a tube to your ear so you can listen through it. Think aloud as you demonstrate. Say, I wonder what I will hear if I listen to a sound through this tube. Ask,

  • Do you think it will sound different from when I listen without the tube?
  • How do you think a sound might change when you listen to it through this tube? For example, how do you think someone’s voice might sound different?

Have children hold a cardboard tube up to their ear and listen to the sounds around them. Ask questions such as,

  • What do you hear?
  • What do you predict will happen to the sound if you move the tube away from your ear even just a little bit? Did the sound change? How did it change? Why do you think so?
  • I wonder what will happen if you cover one end of the tube with your hand? How did the sound change? Why do you think so?

Jot down comments and questions that children have as they are exploring sound with tubes.

Reflect and Share

Encourage children to share their observations. Ask questions to help spark discussion among children about their observations such as,

  • How did sounds change as you were listening through the tube? Can you make/describe one sound you heard before you listened through the tube? After?
  • What happened when you covered one end of the tube with your hand? 
  • What are some other things you might try with the tube to change the sounds?

Safety Tip: Tell children it’s important to stay at a distance from other children when they are using their tubes and that they not shout into other children’s ears.

Adaptation: For younger children, you may need to help them cover the end of the tube. Place their fingers around the end of the tube to cover it. If their fingers are too small to cover the end, cover it for them.

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