Underwater Sound Experiment for Kids | Still Playing School

Underwater Sound Experiment for Kids

Sound carries differently through a solid, liquid, and gas. We investigated how sound waves travel under water with this simple science experiment for kids!

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We love science so we were excited to join up with Frogs, Snails, and Puppy Dog Tails' A-Z Science Experiments for Kids series! If you are looking for a science fair project or you need new material to keep your little scientists busy, this is the resource for you! We have the letter U for Underwater. 

We are about to begin a unit of study on marine mammals. I was inspired while reading Shhh! Listen!: Hearing Sounds to try creating our own hydrophone to test how sound travels under water. 

First I asked our preschooler E how she thought sound traveled to our ears. "What is between us that we can't see? Air! Sound waves travel slowly through air. What we hear most of the time is sound moving through a gas. To demonstrate she clinked two knives together and we listened. 

What would happen if we clinked the same knives under the water? We submerged the knives to make the sound again in a bucket full of water. I cut the bottom off of a large plastic water bottle. (Yes, the same ones we used for our color mixing water tower!) Once submerged in water we used it to listen under the surface (as you can see in our title photo). We took turns clinking the knives and listening.

The result was a louder, better, and clearer sound! Sound waves travel faster through water. We discussed what animals hear underwater. I also mentioned that sound also travels quickly through solids. You can put your ear to a table or wall and knock to demonstate the vibrations of sound passing through a solid object. 

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