Inspired by our star exhibit, the acoustic levitator, our theme for this half term’s activities was Shhh! Sound. In our Science Corner visitors made coffee cup guitars and string telephones and a total of 93 visitors attended our sold-out workshops. Our workshops explored how sound is produced and how humans and animals can hear. Visitors learnt about the nature of sound, the human ear and how our animal cousins use sound for survival. We used slinky springs and tuning forks to explore how sound waves travel, studied an enlarged model of the human ear to learn how we hear and compared the hearing range of different animals with our own.
How is sound produced?
Sound is made when an object vibrates. This creates a pressure wave which causes surrounding particles to vibrate resulting in a pressure wave which travels through the air to our ears. The closer together the vibrations, the higher the frequency.
How Do Animals Use Sound?
Animals use sound for various reasons such as communication, hunting and navigation. For example, a cat hisses when threatened but purrs when they feel comfortable. Using echolocation, bats emit a stream of clicking sounds which bounce back off their unsuspecting insect prey. Also using echolocation whales and dolphins can navigate in murky water.
Fun Facts About Sound
Did you know owls have one ear higher than the other and that the beautiful facial disc around their eyes acts like a collector dish for their ears?
Dolphins use their jawbones to hear underwater.
Elephants can communicate with each other over 6 miles away!
The Greater Bullfrog has a screech which is 10 times louder than a rock concert!
The tiny Mantis Shrimp is one of the loudest animals producing sounds of 200 decibels. A sperm whale is the loudest with 233 decibels!
High-frequency sound waves can be used for cleaning!