Seeing sound

Sound is a vibration that can only usually be picked up by our ears – or you might feel it booming through your whole body if it is a tone, which is loud enough and deep enough.

You cannot see a sound itself – but the following activity will enable you to see the vibrations that cause the sound your ears are picking up. You will need:

  • cling film
  • a jam jar
  • grains of rice, or unpopped popcorn…
  • elastic band

What to do:

1. Place a piece of cling film over the top of the jam jar and pull it tight.

2. Put an elastic band over the neck of the jam jar to keep it extra taut.

3. Place a few grains of rice or corn on the cling film.

4. Take a deep breath and bellow loudly at the rice grains. Make sure your face is quite close to the jam jar. Think: Sergeant Major!

5. Watch what happens to the rice grains as you shout: "Come on! You ‘orrible shower!"

6. Try shouting with a deep voice and with a high voice, loudly and softly – what happens?