Utilization Strategies

Lesson Plans

Meet the Teachers





By Beth Artner
University of Idaho

ITV SERIES: Wishbone Episode # 108 & NOVA, Journey To Kilamanjaro

GRADES 1 - 2


The lesson goal is to have students identify sounds in their environment and acquire listening and inferring skills.

The teacher discusses how everyone can be a sound detective and explore our world for sounds. The use of the video is to help students explore how sound adds meaning to our world, and how if they listen they can determine what sounds are and where they come from. Students will venture out on a scientific exploration in quest of answers to, "What sound do I hear" and "Where or what is the sound coming from?"


Core Curriculum objectives:

To build listening, problem solving, and inferring skills.

Student Outcomes:

Students will be able to observe, infer, recognize, and identify sounds and the objects that make the sounds.


Tapes (Nova and Wishbone)
Book-The Listening Walk by Paul Showers Published by Harper Trophy, 1999


Discuss with the students how sound is important to all of us for gathering information about the world around us.

We use sound to communicate ideas by talking. We use sound for enjoyment such as listening to music. Sound helps us stay safe.

When we hear an ambulance siren or a car horn, we know to get out of the way. It is important for us to learn how to recognize what individual sounds are and how to identify where the sounds come from.

Read the book The Listening Walk and stop periodically to ask for students' inferences or predictions about the books content.



There are four video viewings. The first and third viewing are without sound.

The second and fourth viewing use the audio.

To give students a specific responsibility while viewing, when there isn't sound, the students are to focus on

"What sounds do you think you should be hearing?"

"Why do you think those sounds should be there?"

"What cues do you have?"

When there is sound, the students are to determine if they were right. "Why and Why not."


Rationale for no sound:
The first viewing of each segment has no sound because you want the students to develop problem solving and inference skills.

Rationale for sound.
The second viewing of each segment, you want the students to develop listening skills in order to be able to recognize and identify specific sounds.

The first video is Nova. Set the tape up to start, but when you start, do not have any sound on.

VISUAL CUE for starting:
Where there is a large waterfall with a bird flying past it, start the tape.

AUDIO CUE for starting:
The narrator says, "Living around these torrents are slender build chestnut wing starlings." Stop the video when you see a rushing river with mist rising from the banks.

Do a brief discussion of students' finding. Rewind and play segment again with sound. Do another discussion and prepare them for the next viewing. After listening to Nova, discuss the students' answers.

Prepare students for the Wishbone viewing by telling them "Answer the same questions again. Observe carefully. Look for cues to help you answer the questions." Start Wishbone, again with no sound, right after the beginning credits and the narrator says, "What's the story Wishbone?" Stop the video (Visual cue) when you see a man with a orange shirt on, and he is talking. (Audio cue) The man says, "Bad dog. Go away." Discuss students' findings. Rewind and play again with sound. Discuss students' findings again. Move on to Post-activities.



After viewing Wishbone the second time, tell the students that "Sometimes we hear sounds unexpectedly, as when we heard the cat's meow or the trash can's crash in Wishbone. These sounds tell us what is happening in the environment around us."

Discuss the students' answers to the questions. Have them examine how they came to their conclusions. Finally tell the students, "You are going to be sound detective scientists. We will all take a listening walk around the campus. It is up to you to listen for sounds, and examine where and what the sound comes from."

The teacher generates a list for new questions for the students to answer on their walk. Example: What sounds do you hear that tell you of some kind of activity being done?

List 10 different sounds. Where do they come from? After the walk, generate a list of the students' findings on the chalkboard.

Discuss how the students came up with their conclusions.


Students are to find 10 new sounds that the class did not find today and come back with their findings tomorrow to share with the class.


Music activities can be generated from this lesson. An example would be listening for the particulars of wind, wood, or string instruments. It could be used for understanding Pitch or Timbre.

Exploring the science of the properties of sound could be an additional extension.

For additional lesson plans and ideas relating to this topic and many others try TeacherSource at PBS Online! You will find activities, lesson plans, teacher guides and links to other great educational web sites! Search the database by keyword, grade level or subject area! Mathline and Scienceline are also great resources for teachers seeking teaching tips, lesson plans, assessment methods, professional development, and much more!

The Idaho 2000 National Teacher Training Institute is made possible through the efforts of

Idaho Public Television