UCMP Lessons  

Sounds Around

Author: Sharon Janulaw

Overview: Students take a walk outside and use their sense of hearing to discover things in their world. They record their observations and compare their observations with those of their classmates.

Lesson Concepts:

Grade Span: K–2


Advance Preparation:

— Put paper on clipboards.
— Prepare containers with pencils and crayons.
— Select the area in which you will take the sound walk.

Time: 30 minutes

Grouping: Whole class

Teacher Background:

Numerous sounds are all around us. What we hear as sounds are vibrations in the air. Sounds are picked up by the ears. The vibrations cause tiny movements within the ear, which our nerves and brain interpret as sound. We recognize different sounds because the patterns of vibrations are different.

Explore this link for additional information on the topics covered in this lesson:

Teaching Tips:

Make sure your students understand and agree to follow guidelines for expected behavior on the sound walk.

Vocabulary: sound


  1. Talk about hearing. Ask students what they know about ears and the sense of hearing. What do ears help us do? Have them close their eyes, sit very quietly and listen. Have them open their eyes and name one thing they heard. Ask how they knew what it was without seeing it.
  2. Talk about rules. Tell them they will go on a Sound Walk outside. They will have a clipboard to record what they notice. Explain that they can draw what they hear and write the name of the object on their clipboard. They can also write where they heard the object.
  3. Give each student a clipboard with paper and a container with pencil and crayons. Have each student draw an ear at the top of the paper and write the words, “I Hear...”
  4. Take students outside. Tell them you will walk and stop a few times. Each time you stop, they will close their eyes, listen and select one item that they hear. When they have decided what they want to draw, they can open their eyes, draw it and write its name.
  5. After they have had the opportunity to draw several objects that they observed through their sense of hearing, have them share by standing in a circle. They will each have a turn to tell one thing they heard. If it can still be heard, everyone can stop to listen for a moment.
  6. Return to the classroom and make a list of items that were heard. Have students help you spell the names of objects as you record. Discuss similarities and differences in what was observed through hearing. Have them share what they discovered that they had not noticed before.
  7. Discuss how easy or difficult it is to identify something just by the sound that is being made.


Play a sounds recording and have students guess what is making the sound.

Updated October 31, 2003

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