This lesson is designed for students to use the internet as a resource to research sound waves. Students will also identify sounds of whales to the voice print of the whales and compare and contrast those prints. Students will develop group skills as well as proficiency in use of the internet as a resource for information.



The class will discuss the warm-up activity as a means for the teacher to assess prior knowledge of the subject of sound waves, animal sounds, and identification. Students will be paired or grouped and given the worksheet to complete to gather their data. They will complete their data sheet by using the internet and expand the activity using the oscilloscope on the computer. They will be able to print their voice prints using the oscilloscope. Student groups will present their information to the class. There is room for possible additional research about the study of individuals in a species based on its sounds.



Internet accessible computers, pencil, markers, poster board, information worksheet



Students will begin by completing the warm-up activity. This activity is designed for the teacher to assess prior knowledge and begin students thinking about how sounds look.


  1. How can you tell the difference between a cat and dog if you do not look or touch them?
  2. Can you tell the difference between a puppy and adult dog by its sound?
  3. Do you think all animals can be identified by the sounds they make?
  4. Do animals communicate using sounds? Give 2 examples.

Students compare their responses and discuss differences in their responses. Discuss as a class.

Have students put fingers on their larynx. Say HELLO aloud. Say BOO aloud. Do these sounds feel the same? Using a line, draw each sound.

This introduces students to the idea that sounds can be drawn by using a line. The term oscilloscope should be introduced at this time. Students proceed to exploration area of the lesson.




    Students are grouped for the data collection from the internet. Data collection is directed

  • from the handout provided. This handout is included on a following page. Students read the web sites based on provided addresses to complete their handout. Each student should complete a handout.


    Web sites:







    After all groups have completed their data collection and their voice reproductions, they are to present to the class the two patterns that they chose and provide an explanation of the sound waves (high/low frequencies, wavelength, loud/soft sounds etc.). They should also provide an explanation as to difficulties that they encountered upon recreation of the sound patterns.



    Take Action:

    This study of sound waves and their use in the identification of animals can lead to an in depth study of individuals within a species. Among inquiries to be considered for further research:

    1. How can replication of sounds assist scientists in studying the behavior of whales?
    2. How can specific individuals in a species by identified and its behavior studied using voice patterns?






    Sound Wave Data Collection Instrument


    Use the web sites to complete the information for your data collection on sound waves and whales.


    Web sites:






    1. The height of a wave is its .

    2. Compare the amplitude of a soft and loud sound wave.


    3. The left to right movement of a wave represents .

    4. Can sound waves be added to each other? Illustrate an example.






    1. What instrument can be used to illustrate sound waves?
    2. What is echolocation?
    3. 7. The wavelength of a higher sound is than the wavelength of a lower sound.

      8. How do whales communicate?



    4. Give two reasons whales communicate.



    5. Complete the whale songs activities.
    6. Choose two of the patterns to recreate using our computer’s oscilloscope. Print your recreations. Draw the whale patterns and your recreations. Discuss within your group difficulties you had in creating an accurate copy. Be able to explain the patterns and identify the respective whales.