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How can people protect their ears at Bristol Motor Speedway?

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How can people protect their ears at Bristol Motor Speedway?

Sensemaking Checklist

What is Sensemaking?

Sensemaking is actively trying to figure out how the world works (science) or how to design solutions to problems (engineering). Students do science and engineering through the science and engineering practices. Engaging in these practices necessitates that students be part of a learning community to be able to share ideas, evaluate competing ideas, give and receive critique, and reach consensus. Whether this community of learners is made up of classmates or family members, students and adults build and refine science and engineering knowledge together.

Lesson Snapshot

Middle school students, as scientists, investigate sound wave interactions with materials to answer this driving question: How can people protect their ears at Bristol Motor Speedway? While watching a video of a NASCAR race, students are introduced to the following phenomenon: sound levels in the pit area of Bristol Motor Speedway have been measured at and beyond 130dB—recognized as the human hearing threshold for pain. Using data and images about Bristol Motor Speedway, students develop an initial model to explain why the track is so loud. Next, students perform an investigation using various materials and a decibel measuring instrument to gather evidence about how sound interacts with different materials. Using evidence from the investigation, students revise their model to explain why Bristol Motor Speedway is loud. Finally, students use their model to explain potential ear protection solutions.

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Student Materials

Per Student

Per Small Group (2 to 4 students)
For each bullet, choose one option for each group:

  • Wooden Stick or pencil
  • Metal Chimes, Tuning Fork, or other metal objects with a high percentage of sound reflection
  • Pillow, Stack of Cloth, or other objects with a high percentage of sound absorption
  • Timer
  • Decibel App or Decibel Meter

ex.: NIOSH Sound Level Meter App

Teacher Materials

  • None

Optional Teacher Resources

SERP Wave Resources 

Asset 2