What do rock concerts, motorcycles, and sports events have in common? They all produce sounds within the 80–115 decibel range. At this site, an interactive infographic demonstrates real-world sounds ranging from 30–150 decibels. You can compare sounds made by whispering, dishwashers, sirens, and lawnmowers, among others. A noise meter measures the decibels associated with each type of sound and identifies the decibel range in which exposure to these sounds becomes harmful.
In addition to the noise meter, the infographic provides information about hearing, what a decibel is, and what happens inside your ears when your hearing is damaged.
This site provides a great real-world context for understanding the way sounds and decibels are related. Students are given a combined visual approach, via the noise meter, and an auditory approach, via sounds of motorcycles, rock bands, etc. This is a good activity for younger, auditory learners because the science is not too difficult. Students can apply this knowledge at home by making a list of loud and soft sounds.
Making Sound Waves Visible: Exploring Chladni Plates
6-8 | Hands-On
Properties of Sound Waves