Brabyns Preparatory School Brabyns Preparatory School

Brabyns Preparatory School
Monitoring Sound with Tech

Brabyns has become a ‘Chromebook City’, and these machines have massively improved the technology side of our teaching. As Science Coordinator, I am always keen to try new ways of adding technology into my Science lessons, so I decided to find out how we could use the Chromebooks for data logging. After speaking to one of our ICT consultants, I researched the sensors made by an American company called PASCO. Their ICT helpline was very helpful, in that they advised me that you can use the built in microphone as a sound sensor using their software, which is free to download. After downloading it on my phone and using it to test out how loud I could sing! Another of our ICT consultants very kindly downloaded the software onto the chrome books and we were ready to go. I was very excited as Year 3 and 4 were studying the topic of Sound at the time.  

The first experiment involved the concept of the distance of a sound. Our question was ‘what happens to a sound as the distance from the sound source increases?’ The children helped plan the investigation and my clock radio alarm was the sound source. After moving the sensor 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 metres away we recorded the sound data in decibels. We used the mean operation to calculate the sound over 10 seconds. The children were pleased to prove that the sound decreases as the distance from the sound source increases.  

In the second experiment, the children investigated the concept of soundproofing. The children thought of the following question ‘Which material is the best for soundproofing?’ After choosing some of the materials, the children used the Chromebook sound sensor to record the sound of my phone alarm, wrapped in different materials. They were impressed with their results and wrote interesting conclusions. Science Club have also used them to find out, ‘Which percussion instrument makes the loudest sound?’

My next step as Science Coordinator, is to purchase wireless light sensors, temperature sensors, heart rate sensors and motion sensors to connect with the Chromebooks. These will enhance the teaching of the topics of ‘Light, Materials, the Human Body and Forces.’ So watch this space for more scientific technological developments.

Mrs McNeeney

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