Astonishing Science. Spectacular museum.
In this activity you can make a coat hanger sound like Big Ben by tapping it against a table and allowing the vibrations to travel through the various materials to your inner ear.
Year groups: 1-2 (ages 5-7), 3-6 (ages 7-11)
To see how sounds travel much more effectively through materials such as metal and string than through air.
Ear Gongs activity sheet
Download student activity sheet [pdf]
As we are asking students to put their string-wrapped fingers in their ears it may be wise to warn them against pushing them too far in or sticking other objects into their ears.
Click here for a guide to planning open-ended investigations in your classroom.
If a wooden telegraph pole or railway sleeper in good condition is tapped with a hammer, it produces a clear, crisp sound. If the wood is rotten, the sound will be more of a dull thud. This technique is used to help ensure that railway lines and telegraph poles are safe, either as routine maintenance or after a natural disaster such as an earthquake.
Sounding telegraph poles and railway sleepers
Look out for new mobile phone and music headphone designs that allow you to listen to sounds through your skull. The phone or headphone touches your cheek or just behind your ear and sound vibrations are carried through the bones in your skull to the small bones in your inner ear without the sound going through your ear. This technology is also used by the military, whose helmets allow the user to hear normally but make almost no sound.