Computing devices have the ability to aid our understanding in many science topics. Having just completed the sound seminar, in which we were exposed to an array of computing devices that allowed us to measure sound accurately (kind of), their usefulness within the topic of sound will be outlined below.
The best (and most common) method of measuring sound is by using our ears, however it’s not the most universal method as everyone ears are unique and thus, we hear sounds slightly differently. During some classroom experiments, I believe data loggers and the app Decibel 10th would be very functional and aid the children’s understanding immensely.
If children are measuring the loudness of an instrument or noise using their ears, they will all record different results, however, if they have access to data loggers and the app Decibel 10th, they should hopefully all record the same amplitude, whilst having the ability to view the maximum and minimum level and also view some sonograms that appear on the app. The sonograms would greatly improve the children’s learning potential and may even instil curiosity to research further into the topic of sound.
Furthermore, from a scientific point of view, it would reduce bias, create more accurate data and potential arguments over the results gained all whilst improving their computing and working scientifically skills….WIN WIN!
But (there’s always a but)…as data loggers are so sensitive, they would work best in a completely silent room (difficult with 30 primary children in a cramped room all making noise for an experiment I know)! Data loggers do pick up all the background noise – reducing the accuracy and validity of the results and increasing the number of variables the children must contend with.
They could be used in a comparative way; whilst doing an experiment on the best material for ear defenders, children could predict the results, try it out using their ears and the measuring device and then see what results the data loggers give. They could then compare all 3; predictions, ears and data loggers to see if there are any similarities or differences.
The use of data loggers is a KS2 area of learning and could be incorporated into the development of children’s own experiments.
Added bonus: Decibel 10th is a FREE app.