About Sound of Music

Highly Recommended
Like all our Science Reasoning Center activities, the completion of the Sound of Music activity requires that a student use provided information about a phenomenon, experiment, or data presentation to answer questions. This information is accessible by tapping on the small thumbnails found on the bottom right of every question. However, it may be considerably easier to have a printed copy of this information or to display the information in a separate browser window. You can access this information from this page

The Standards
The Sound of Music uses two tables to compare and contrast the frequency, wavelength and speeds of the various harmonics produced by open- and closed-end resonance columns. The frequency composition of a clarinet and a flute are compared to one another. Questions target a student's ability to select information from a complex data table or a graph, to identify the relationship among the variables wavelength, frequency, speed and harmonic number, to use such relationships to make comparisons of the sounds produced by two different air columns, and to combine information in a table with information in a graph in order to identify appropriate conclusions.

Success with Sound of Music requires some degree of understanding or proficiency with respect to ...
  • Developing and Using Models (Science and Engineering Practice 2.3)
    Develop, revise, and/or use a model based on evidence to illustrate and/or predict the relationships between systems or between components of a system.
  • Developing and Using Models (Science and Engineering Practice 2.6)
    Develop and/or use a model (including mathematical and computational) to generate data to support explanations, predict phenomena, analyze systems, and/or solve problems.
  • Planning and Carrying Out Investigations (Science and Engineering Practice 3.5)
    Make directional hypotheses that specify what happens to a dependent variable when an independent variable is manipulated.
  • Analyzing and Interpreting Data(Science and Engineering Practice 4.1)
    Analyze data using tools, technologies, and/or models (e.g., computational, mathematical) in order to make valid and reliable scientific claims or determine an optimal design solution.
  • Using Mathematics and Computational Thinking (Science and Engineering Practice 5.3)
    Use mathematical, computational, and/or algorithmic representations of phenomena or design solutions to describe and/or support claims and/or explanations.
  • Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions (Science and Engineering Practice 6.1)
    Make a quantitative and/or qualitative claim regarding the relationship between dependent and independent variables.
  • Patterns (Crosscutting Concept 1.5)
    Mathematical representations are needed to identify some patterns.
  • Scale, Proportion, and Quantity (Crosscutting Concept 3.2)
    Algebraic thinking is used to examine scientific data and predict the effect of a change in one variable on another (e.g., linear growth vs. exponential growth).

While Sound of Music activity addresses the six NextGen Science and Engineering Practices and the two Crosscutting Concepts above, the task draws its greatest inspiration from ACT's College Readiness Standards for Science Reasoning. The task consists of 52 questions organized into 13 Question Groups and spread across the three activities. A single strand (Interpretation of Data - IOD) of the College Readiness Standards is addressed in this activity. The code given for the standard includes three letters to indicate the strand (IOD) and three numbers to indicate the specific standard within that strand. Higher numbers are indicative of more complex science reasoning skills. The relationship between the questions and the standards is as follows:


Complementary and Similar Resources
The following resources at The Physics Classroom website complement the Sound of Music Science Reasoning Activity. Teachers may find them useful for supporting students and/or as components of lesson plans and unit plans.

Physics Classroom Tutorial, Sound Waves and Music: Lesson 5

Physics Video Tutorial, Vibrations and Waves: Harmonics and Standing Wave Patterns

Physics Video Tutorial, Vibrations and Waves: Standing Wave Mathematics

Physics Interactives, Waves and Sound: Standing Waves Maker

Concept Builders, Waves and Sound: Name That Harmonic (Open-End)

Concept Builders, Waves and Sound: Name That Harmonic (Closed-End)

Minds On Physics, Sound Waves and Music, Mission SM8 - Harmonics for Open-End AIr Columns

Minds On Physics, Sound Waves and Music, Mission SM10 - Harmonics for Closed-End AIr Columns

The Calculator Pad, Sound Waves: Problem Sets SW15 - SW22