• Elementary Science Grade 3 Unit 2

    Subject: Science
    Grade: 3
    Timeline: 12 weeks
    Unit Title: Wave Properties

    Unit Overview: 
    In this unit students learn to discriminate between sounds generated by dropped objects, how sounds can be made louder or softer and higher or lower, how sounds travel through a variety of materials, and how sounds get from a source to a receiver.  The investigations provide opportunities for students to explore the natural and human-made worlds by observing and manipulating materials in focused settings using simple tools.  Students are expected to use scientific thinking processes to conduct investigations and build explanations through observing, communicating, comparing and organizing.

    Unit Objectives:
    Energy and Matter
    • Energy can be transferred in various ways and between objects.
    • Similarities and differences in patterns can be used to sort and classify natural phenomena.
    • Similarities and differences in patterns can be used to sort and classify designed products.
    Cause and Effect
    • Cause and effect relationships are routinely identified.

    Focus Standards:
    PSSA Eligible Content:
    S4.A.1.1.1 - Distinguish between a scientific fact and an opinion, providing clear explanations that connect observations and results (e.g., a scientific fact can be supported by making observations).
    S4.A.1.3.1 Observe and record change by using time and measurement.

    S4.A.2.1.1 - Generate questions about objects, organisms, or events that can be answered through scientific investigations.

    S4.A.2.1.2 - Design and describe an investigation (a fair test) to test one variable.
    S4.A.2.1.4 - State a conclusion that is consistent with the information/data.
    S4.A.2.2.1 - Identify appropriate tools or instruments for specific tasks and describe the information they can provide (e.g., measuring: length - ruler, mass - balance scale, volume - beaker, temperature - thermometer; making observations: hand lens, binoculars, telescope).
    S4.A.3.2.2 - Use models to make observations to explain how systems work (e.g., water cycle, Sun-Earth-Moon system).
    S4.A.3.2.3 - Use appropriate, simple modeling tools and techniques to describe or illustrate a system (e.g., two cans and string to model a communications system, terrarium to model an ecosystem).
    S4.C.2.1.1 - Identify energy forms, energy transfer, and energy examples (e.g., light, heat, electrical).
    S4.C.2.1.4 - Identify characteristics of sound (e.g.,pitch, loudness, reflection).
    NGSS Disciplinary Core Ideas:
    PS3.A:  Definition of Energy
    • Energy can be moved from place to place by moving objects or through sound, light, or electric current.
    PS3.B:  Conservation of Energy and Energy Transfer
    •  Energy is present whenever there are moving objects, sound, light, or heat. When objects collide, energy can be transferred from one object to another, thereby changing their motion. In such collisions, some energy is typically also transferred to the surrounding air; as a result, the air gets heated and sound is produced. 
    • Energy can also be transferred from place to place by electric currents, which can then be used locally to produce motion, sound, heat, or light. The currents may have been produced to begin with by transforming the energy of motion into electrical energy.
    PS4.A:  Wave Properties
    • Waves, which are regular patterns of motion, can be made in water by disturbing the surface.

    Concepts - Students will know:
    • the behavior of sound.

    Competencies -Students will be able to:

    • identify the properties of sounds.
    • understand that sound travels in waves.
    • identify characteristics of pitch and volume.
    • identify that sound needs a medium to travel.

    Formative Assessments:
    • District Pre-Assessment
    • Notebook Entries
    • Whole Group and Small Group Discussion
    • Teacher Observation
    • Response Sheets
    • Home/School Connection Activities
    • Formative Assessment Probes

    Summative Asssessments:

    • Performance Assessments with Rubric
    • Notebook Entries with Rubric
    • Independent Investigation and Presentation with Rubric
    • Post - Assessment


    Elements of Instruction:
    Asking Questions and Defining Problems
    Asking Questions and defining problems in grades 3-5 builds on grades K-2 experiences and progresses to specifying qualitative relationships.
    • Ask questions that can be investigated and predict reasonable outcomes based on patterns such as cause and effect relationships.

    Planning and Carrying Out Investigations

    Planning and carrying out investigations to answer questions or test solutions to problems in 3-5 builds on K-2 experiences and progresses to include investigations that control variables and provide evidence to support explanations or design solutions.
    • Make observations to produce data to serve as the basis for evidence for an explanation of a phenomenon or test a design solution.
    Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions
    Constructing explanations and designing solutions in 3-5 builds on K-2 experiences and progresses to the use of evidence in constructing explanations that specify variables that describe and predict phenomena and in designing multiple solutions to design problems.
    • Use evidence (e.g., measurements, observations, patterns) to construct an explanation.
    • Apply scientific ideas to solve design problems.
    • Generate and compare multiple solutions to a problem based on how well they meet the criteria and constraints of the design solution.

    Developing and Using Models
    Modeling in 3-5 builds on the K-2 experiences and progresses to building and revising simple models and using models to represent events and design solutions.

          * Develop a model to describe phenomena.

    Each lesson has differentiation options for each portion of the lesson. Additional differentiation options are listed with directions and student masters in the Teacher’s Guide.
    • word walls and flip charts
    • structured notebooks
    • differentiated grouping
    • whole group discussions
    • learning center


    • research
    • written and oral reports
    • sound matching game
    • make a duck flute and animal "quackers"
    • record sound effects
    • create rubber band guitars and other "home-made" instruments
    • observe the speed of sound through air
    • make a garden hose listening tube
    • investigate making string telephones out of various materials
    • compare sound mufflers
    • make an air cannon
    • investigate sound-making toys

    Interdisciplinary Connections:
    Investigation 1
    Language extensions:  drop multiple letter objects, send mystery letters, create whole-word codes, drop in other languages, write sound stories with feeling, explore onomatopoeia.
    Math extensions:  problem of the week, create a number drop
    Investigation 2
    Language extensions:  research animal sounds, investigate/research the "Adam's Apple"
    Math extensions:  problem of the week, notate string-beam music
    Music extensions:  sing, show and tell about musical instruments, discuss noise and music, make home-made musical instruments
    Investigation 3
    Language extensions: research whale and dolphin communication, research bat navigation, compare animal ears, write about what life would be like in an airless world
    Math extensions:  problem of the week
    Art extensions:  hold a fabulous ear contest
    Investigation 4
    Language extensions: research hearing aids, describe the benefits and challenges of working in a group
    Math extensions: problem of the week, measure sound's path
    Social Studies extensions:  imagine/write about life without telephones and stereos 

    Additional Resources / Games:
    • FOSS Science Stories "Physics of Sound"
    • Grade 3 Science/Literacy kit
    • www.fossweb.com
    • Additional informational text resources listed in teacher guide under "Resource" tab