The Senses: Hearing

EARThe Sense of Hearing 

Objective: Children learn about their sense of hearing with discovery.

Preparation: Have the following items:

  • Plastic containers: film canisters, yogurt cups, or plastic bottles.
  • Glue or tape to seal the top of the containers and to attach decorations.
  • Fillings: dry seeds, uncooked beans or rice, sand, pebbles, coins, marbles, rocks
  • CD, tape and record collections of different sound effects.
  • Various items that could make sound for a sound guessing game.
  • Pictures of inner ear.
  • Suggested book:
    • The Ear Book by Al Perkins
    • Noisy Nora by Rosemary Wells
    • Polar Bear Polar Bear What Do You Hear? by Bill Martin Jr. and Eric Carle

Lesson:  Choose a book to include in the lesson.

  • When something makes a noise, it sends vibrations (sound waves) through the air.  These vibrations go through the ear canal, then hit the eardrum causing it to vibrate.  Those vibrations are sent to the brain by the auditory nerve.  The brain takes the sounds and tells you what sounds you are hearing.
  • Your inner ear contains your eardrum, which is smaller and thinner than your fingernail, and the three smallest bones in your body: the hammer, the anvil, and stirrup (show diagram).
  • Some people have trouble hearing and others cannot hear at all.  When a person can’t hear well, a hearing aid can sometimes help them hear better.  People who can’t hear at all have to rely on their other senses to help process the information from the world around them.
  • You can also lose your ability to hear by listening to things that are very loud.  It is important to use earplugs when you are in noisy places.


  • Go outside and have the children sit with their eyes closed and listen to everything they can hear.   Compare the sounds they heard.  Did you hear the wind? Cars? Airplanes?
  • There are many CD, tape and record collections of different sound effects . Play a sound effect and see if everyone can guess what made each sound.
  • Play guess that sound. Have kids close their eyes or turn away from the “sound maker.” Make each sound and see if everyone knows what it is.  Example sounds:   Shake pennies or other coins, Clap hands, Tap a pencil or pen on a desk, Close a book, Crumple up paper or foil, Stomp on the floor, Tear some paper, Close a stapler, Bounce a ball.
  • Noise Makers: Find some plastic containers such as plastic juice bottles.  Make sure that the containers have covers for the tops. Fill the containers 1/2 or 1/4 full with dry seeds, uncooked beans or rice, pebbles or sand. Seal each container with glue.  Shake, shake, shake!  Compare the sounds made by the different materials.

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