Optional Teaching Supplies

Materials for this Unit

Many EiE lessons use materials that are commonly available at grocery, hardware, or craft stores. To obtain kit materials, either visit our EiE store to purchase a kit that includes materials for up to 30 students, or create your own kit based on the materials list printed in the teacher guide or the downloadable list below.

Each unit includes a letter to send home with student for materials donation for the unit. Click here to download a copy of this letter in Spanish.

Additional Storybooks for Classroom Use

Storybooks introduce each unit with the tale of a child somewhere around the world who solves a problem through engineering. The books integrate literacy and social studies into the unit and illustrate for students the relevance of STEM subjects. 

Explore the Lessons

Students think about what technology is and are introduced to the idea that engineers design technologies.

Supporting Materials for this Lesson

Videos
What is Technology? / Grade 4 / Worcester, MA

Students think about what technology is and are introduced to the idea that engineers design technologies.

Extension Lessons

What are Extension Lessons?

Extension Lessons use EiE activities as a springboard to more directly reinforce other curricular concepts.

View all Extension Lessons »

Kwame is a young drummer in Ghana, and he’s come up with some great new rhythms. But how can he share them with his cousin in a far-off village, so they can perform together at the upcoming festival? One day Kwame, who is blind, journeys to the rainforest with his father, an acoustical engineer who helps biologists use sound to track elephant movements. When Kwame learns how recording devices represent sounds, he gets an idea for how to represent his drum rhythms so his cousin can learn them. Will the two boys be ready to drum as one?

Download a PDF of our storybook illustrations.
 

Supporting Materials for this Lesson

Sample Classroom Video
Kwame's Sound Storybook / Grade 3 / Naples, FL
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EiE- Sounds Like Fun: Seeing Animal Sounds Lesson 1

Reflection Questions

How does Susan help students relate to the work scientists and engineers do?

Susan describes the work of scientists and engineers in a way that is engaging and accessible to all of her students.

  • Susan stresses the importance of the Elephant Listening Project and how it’s a real, ongoing endeavor in Ghana. (2:00)
  • Shortly after the discussion about the work of scientists on the Elephant Listening Project, Susan begins a discussion about the work that engineers do and how it differs from science. (2:30)
  • Susan reinforces the definition of technology with her class and puts emphasis on the fact that technologies do not have to be powered by electricity. Students can relate to engineers more easily by understanding that they work with many technologies every day. (5:56)

Where and how do you see Susan reinforcing the steps of the Engineering Design Process (EDP)?

Susan often references the EDP and reinforces its steps, both audibly and visually.

  • During the discussion about what an engineer does, both the students and Susan state that the EDP is used by all engineers (2:45)
  • Before going over the EDP worksheet, Susan goes through all of the steps in order with her students.  (6:40)
  • Susan has two large wall hangings that visually reinforce the steps of the EDP. (8:40)
Kwame's Sound Storybook / Grade 4 / Brockton
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EiE- Sounds Like Fun: Seeing Animal Sounds Lesson 1

Reflection Questions

What active learning strategies do you see Diane using to keep children engaged in the storybook reading process?

Diane incorporates instructional strategies that get her students actively involved in the material.

  • Diane has each student write down three words they would use to describe Kwame and compare their responses to others within their small group. (0:46)
  • Diane has children locate specific evidence in their books and read the passages aloud that support particular ideas. (3:06)
  • Students write the individual steps of the Engineering Design Process (EDP) on sticky notes and use them to mark relevant passages in the book. (4:34)

How does Diane address the Common Core ELA standards as she reads Kwame’s Sound?

Diane reinforces Common Core concepts by asking students to describe characters’ thoughts and motivations, infer meaning from visuals, and cite text for evidence.

  • Diane has her students identify three character traits that helped Kwame solve his problem. (0:45)
  • Diane’s students use content presented in various formats (informational text and illustrations) to help them define a spectrogram. (3:19)
  • Diane’s students are asked to find evidence in the text of Kwame using each step of the EDP. (5:04)

Students think like acoustical engineers as they test different methods for damping sound.

Supporting Materials for this Lesson

Sample Classroom Video
Shh! Damping Sounds / Grade 3 / Naples, FL
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EiE- Sounds Like Fun: Seeing Animal Sounds Lesson 2

Reflection Questions

What strategies does Susan use to introduce the concept of sound and acoustical engineering to her students?

Susan asks questions related to the storybook, facilitates a brainstorming activity, and makes meaningful connections between sound and acoustical engineering for her students.

  • Susan asks her students where and when in the storybook Kwame heard sounds. (0:22)
  • Susan has students write different sounds they hear throughout the school day on sticky notes and sort them on a chart. (0:57)
  • Susan explains how acoustical engineers design ways to dampen competing sounds and make primary sounds clearer. (1:25)

How does Susan guide her students to identify vibrations as the source of sound?

Susan uses visual, hands-on teaching methods to show her students that vibrations are the source of all sound.

  • Susan has students hold tuning forks up to their cheeks to feel the vibration.  Students observe that the vibration stops once it touches their skin. (02:35)
  • Susan uses the teacher tip in the EiE Sound and Acoustical Engineering Teacher Guide (p.  62). She has her students touch tuning forks to the surface of water to make a visual connection between sound and vibrations. (3:06)
  • Susan has her students make a box guitar and put aluminum foil over the rubber bands.  She then asks what they observed after plucking the strings, guiding her students to make the connection between vibrations and the sound of aluminum foil moving. (6:17-7:00)
Shh! Damping Sounds / Grade 4 / Brockton, MA
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EiE- Sounds Like Fun: Seeing Animal Sounds Lesson 2

Reflection Questions

What evidence do you see that Diane spent time preparing before this lesson?

Diane prepared charts, sorted materials, and created student notebooks.

  • Diane prepared a large sound chart with four quadrants (primary sound, competing Sound, people sounds, machine sounds) that students use to sort the sound examples they come up with. (1:38)
  • Diane prepared bins of materials for each group. Bins include three pieces of felt and foil, a tuning fork, a piece of clay and rubber bands. (3:48)
  • Diane placed all of the unit handouts in a spiral-bound notebook for each student. (4:40)

What formative assessment strategies do you see Diane using?

Diane incorporates several strategies that help her evaluate whether students understand the concepts she is presenting,

  • By having each student write their sound ideas on sticky notes and post them on the chart, Diane can quickly assess their understanding of primary and competing sounds. (2:06)
  • As the class works to dampen the sound of the guitar strings, Diane rotates among small groups, asking questions to assess student understanding (4:42)
  • Diane has all students fill out the Damping Sound handout as they progress through the lesson. As she circulates, she can quickly assess what the students are recording. (9:29)

Students analyze some properties of soundsincluding pitch, volume, and durationand begin exploring ways to represent simple sounds.

Supporting Materials for this Lesson

Sample Classroom Video
Seeing Sounds / Grade 3 / Naples, FL
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EiE- Sounds Like Fun: Seeing Animal Sounds Lesson 3

Reflection Questions

Where do you see Susan connecting previous lessons to Lesson 3 for her students?

Susan integrates the storybook and references the Elephant Listening Project from Lesson 1 to set a context for her students in Lesson 3.

  • Susan uses the storybook as a jumping-off point to teach her students about spectrograms. (0:51)
  • As a lesson transition, Susan references moving out of the Elephant Listening Project from Lesson 1 to listening to birds. (1:16)

What strategies does Susan use help her students differentiate changes in pitch and in volume?

Susan uses gestures and prompts to reinforce her students’ understanding of the difference between pitch and volume.

  • Susan notices her student Marcos using hand gestures to represent pitch, and she has the class mimic the same hand gesture to cement the concept of rising pitch. (4:48)
  • Susan asks her students to identify the main difference between the flight call (change in volume) and the alarm call (change in pitch). (5:27)
  • Susan has her students mimic the gesture of turning the knob of a radio up and down to demonstrate the concept of volume. (6:26)
Seeing Sounds / Grade 4 / Brockton, MA
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EiE- Sounds Like Fun: Seeing Animal Sounds Lesson 3

Reflection Questions

How does Diane encourage students’ imagination as they come up with ideas about how to represent sound?

Diane takes every opportunity to support the idea that engineering problems have multiple solutions.

  • Diane reminds her students that in the story, Kwame used yams and plantains to represent sound. (4:00)
  • Diane uses the chart paper to records the various ideas that students have for showing pitch changes (straight lines, arrows). (4:39)
  • Kids make lots of different graphics. (6:20, 6:25, 8:39)
  • Diane calls attention to the representation of a student who had a particularly unique way of showing pitch change. (6:35)
  • Diane acknowledges Davian’s comment that “you could use almost anything” to represent sound and points out that it is the choice of the acoustical engineer. (6:53)

What do you notice about the development of the students’ distinction between pitch and volume?

Because students’ understanding of pitch and volume is developing, but not fully formed, Diane is taking steps to help students build their understanding.

  • When first asked, students describe the flight call only in terms of changes in pitch. (1:52)
  • After Diane prompts them, one student seems to conflate pitch and volume, using terms like higher and louder to describe the sounds in the flight call. (2:25)
  • Diane focuses the students’ attention specifically on pitch by having them use hand gestures to show the pitch changes. (3:03)
  • Before playing the second call, Diane states that the only property that changed in the first call was the pitch. (6:38)

Students focus on the acoustical engineering problem of representing sounds as they imagine, plan, create, test, and improve their own representations of bird calls.

Supporting Materials for this Lesson

Sample Classroom Video
Representing Bird Sounds / Grade 3 / Naples, FL
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EiE- Sounds Like Fun: Seeing Animal Sounds Lesson 4

Reflection Questions

How does Susan help her students think about representing something as abstract as sound?

Susan emphasizes the importance of carefully listening and imagining the components of each birdcall. 

  • Susan reiterates how students should imagine the birdcalls before trying to plan their visual representations. (3:55)
  • Susan acknowledges the difficulty of trying to creating a visual representation from sound. (5:46) 

What are the benefits of having students plan and create using dry erase boards rather than paper?

Susan minimizes waste in her classroom by having students use individual dry erase boards to express their ideas.

  • Students easily share their ideas with one another using the sturdy boards. (4:15)
  • While imagining, students can brainstorm multiple ideas on the dry erase boards without wasting paper. (2:55)
  • While planning, students can and erase and add new ideas as they discuss their designs. (4:31)
Representing Bird Sounds / Grade 4 / Brockton, MA
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EiE- Sounds Like Fun: Seeing Animal Sounds Lesson 4

Reflection Questions

What are the steps that Diane’s students go through in the process of creating their bird call representations?

The steps that Diane’s students go through reflect the steps of the EDP.

  • The whole class listens to five bird calls. Each group has been assigned an individual bird but does not share its identity with the class. (1:49)
  • As the recording is played, individual students imagine their own ways to record the sound and draw their ideas on their own dry erase boards. (2:32)
  • Groups of students work together to combine their ideas into a single plan that they sketch on their dry erase boards. (3:38)
  • Students use any of the provided materials to create a three-dimensional representation of the bird call they have drawn on the dry erase board. (4:33)
  • Students present their representations to the class and other groups try to guess which bird call they tried to show. (4:42)

In what ways do you see Diane’s students provide support and encouragement for each other as they work in groups?

Diane’s students share their thinking with each other and work together to create their final sound representations.

  • One student suggests combining the strategies of two other team members in their final design. (4:05)
  • “I really think we should do this to make our graph shine!” exclaims one student to her group. (4:28)
  • All students share materials and take turns working on their group representations. (4:39)