Here‘s a nice simple resource that could be used to teach Sound and Waves in Science. There are several sites that show oscilloscope traces when looking at sounds, and this is another one. It’s produced by Aartpack, and they call it a Digital Theramin – named after the staple musical instrument of 50s sci fi movies (wikipedia info) 🙂

oscilloscope

What I like about this one is its simplicity. Plus it would work well on an interactive whiteboard to show how the shape of the sound “wave” changes as the pitch and volume changes.

Click the Menu button to show the options, and set it so that the Sine Waveform is set to a value, and the other 3 are turned off (no scale), like this:

waveform

Then if you click anywhere on the screen, a sine wave will be drawn and a note will be played (turn up your speakers!)

If you drag your finger/pen to the right the note will get higher and the waves will get closer together. Likewise drag your finger/pen to the left and the pitch will get lower.

If you drag up the screen the note will get louder, drag it down the screen and the note will get quieter. The amplitude of the sine wave will reduce.

This would be very nice to demonstrate sound waves at KS2 or Ks3.

The only drawback is that there is no way to set it up so it works without having to touch the board. I’d like to have seen a mode where you could place a button on the screen, and move that button up/down left/right to change the note. That way you could let go of the board to address the class and keep the note playing/displayed. I’m pleased to see it will resize to full-screen so you can make the resource fit the entire whiteboard.

There are more complicated settings that you can play with if you want to do some more advanced stuff, but the sine wave feature alone makes it a very handy bookmark to have for your Sound lesson! You can access the digital theramin/oscilloscope here.

There are other interactive resources on the Aartpack website too. It’s worth looking around the whole site to see what they have for your subject.