Activities to teach children about noise pollution

In England and Wales, noise pollution could be taught as part of Science 4 - Physical processes. In Scotland, it could be incorporated into the teaching of Sciences - Forces, electricity and waves. In Northern Ireland, it could form part of work in relation to The World Around Us STRAND 2: Movement and Energy.

What is the point?

According to The National Society for Clean Air and Environmental Protection (NCSA), it is important that children become aware of the sounds around them, what constitutes noise pollution and how it can cause stress and discomfort and affect their quality of life. Further, it is important for children to appreciate that loud noise is potentially harmful to hearing, so they can avoid the dangers posed by exposure to noise.

Sounds around

This activity will help children develop a sense of what constitutes noise. Provide a group of children with a portable sound-recording device and have them go around school recording both loud and soft sounds. Ask them to write down what each sound is, for later identification purposes. Back in class, play the recordings to the whole class and ask other children to guess what they are. Discuss whether any of these sounds could be called noise.

Sound waves

Explain that sound travels in waves and that generally speaking, the closer you are to a source of sound, the louder it will be, because the waves have less distance to travel to your ear. Demonstrate this principle by taking the children out into the playground. Have the children stand at a distance from you while you make a sound on a musical instrument, such as a drum or triangle. Have the children move away from you, a few steps at a time, until they can no longer hear the sound.

Warning posters

Ask children about the loud noises they have heard, such as those made by electric drills and motorbikes and music played at high volume. Ask for descriptive words for these sounds and write them on the board. Discuss how these noises affected the children and how they made them feel. Provide the children with art materials and ask them to design warning posters to tell others about the potential dangers of these sources of noise.

Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author

Frank Luger had his first educational resources published in the early 1990s. He worked on a major reading system for Cambridge University Press, became an information-technology adviser and authored interactive whiteboard resources for "The Guardian." Luger studied English literature and holds a Bachelor of Education honors degree from Leeds University.