A WebQuest on Sound

Prepared By Kathleen Bachhuber
Saint Mary's Springs High School
255 County Road K
Fond du Lac  Wi 

March, 2001

Introduction Task Process Resources Guidance Conclusion


The nature of sound waves and how they travel play an integral role in our lives.  High intensity sound waves are used medicinally in the pulverization of kidney stones and in ultrasound therapy.  Many animals make use of echolocation, while fisherman use fish finders to locate the largest walleye or the meanest catfish.  Sound waves provide us with the sonar used by submarines as well as the doppler effect demonstrated by the red shift of astronomy.  Sound waves are important in our daily lives.   A complete  understanding of the sound wave and how it travels will enable us to better appreciate many of the devices that make use of sound waves, as well as the music which soothes our souls.


Sound waves are longitudinal waves that require a medium through which to travel.  Research the following topics and prepare a concept map using Inspiration to summarize what you have learned.  Organize your concept map in such a way that the information you present is readily understood.  Be prepared to share your concept map with the other members of your class. 

Include these topics as well as others you come across in your research in the development and presentation of the concept map you build.

Those items labeled with ** are intended for College Physics only.  College physics students will be held accountable for mathematical determinations of all topics listed below when applicable.

Doppler Shift



Loudness and Decibels

Open Pipe Resonation

Closed Pipe Resonation



Vibrating Strings

How We Hear Sounds

Properties of Sound Waves

Sonic Booms

Wave Speed

Doppler Radar

Production of Sound


Quality of Sound


**Calculation of Doppler

**Speed and Liquids

**Speed and Young's Modulus

**Speed and Strings

**Speed and Acoustic Density


Using the resources provided, find out as much as you can about sound waves.  Record this information on the sheets provided.  Include the name of the concept as well as a brief description of this concept.  Information or examples that you find interesting need to be noted as well.  The concept map that you create will be shared within the classroom, and the assessment for this project will be based upon not only the thoroughness of your research, but also the concept map that you developed. If you are unfamiliar with the use of Inspiration, please ask for assistance.

For information on the use of Inspiration, Click Here
For a copy of the assessment guide, Click Here
For a copy of the information recording sheet, Click Here


The following web links are provided for your use.  Do refer to your textbook, as well as other print resources.  

The Physics of Sound Sound Waves
Sonic Booms More Sound Waves
Sonic Boom Basics Sound Waves and Guitars
The Nature of a Sound Wave Sound FAQ's
Sound Quiz Sound Site
The Doppler Effect Sound
Sound Examples The Orchestra
Characteristics of Sound Hearing
Vocabulary Image Voice Prints
Noise Pollution  
Sound Demos Harmonics
More Harmonics The Physics of Musical Instruments
Harmonics and Strings Sound Applets



As you build the concept map using Inspiration do not forget to include the following: 

  definitions of all terms you use
  label all links
  include a page of notes if needed
  examples if appropriate
  make use of some organizational scheme
  do not limit yourself to an 8 X 11 sheet of paper - larger sheets are available
  if printing in color, access a classroom deskjet printer


This project has provided you with the opportunity to explore the properties of sound waves, as well as a variety of examples of the everyday uses of sound waves.  Sound and the resulting wave form affect every living thing in a variety of ways.  Sound has the ability to both increase or decrease heart rate.  Sound can be used to image unborn children as well as destroy buildings.  The wave itself is unable to travel through free space, yet can both enhance the quality of our lives as well as cause universal destruction.  From the structure and function of the ear and the physiology of human hearing, to the transfer of sound waves used in ultrasound therapy, sound waves effect all of us. 


If you have questions or comments please email