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Fast and Easy Science Fair Projects: Ear of the Beholder

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Neighbor's dog

Neighbor's dog

This is my 21st hub on Fast and Fair Science Fair Projects. I'm sure you'll enjoy reading and trying out this one too!

Pleasant sounds versus "noise"

Purpose: The purpose is to determine if there is a difference in the opinions of young people and those of an older age as to what normal-living sounds they consider pleasant and unpleasant.

Overview: Some sounds are thought of as pleasing, while others are "noise." The difference between a pleasant and an unpleasant sound may be in the mind of the listener. Hitting a fence with a stick may be noise, but if you walk along a picket fence and run the stick against it, the regular repetitive sound may be pleasing to you but more than annoying to the homeowner who is sitting on the porch listening to you scratching his fence!

Sometimes pleasant sounds can be unpleasant, depending on the circumstances. The sound of a telephone ringing during the day can be pleasant; it could be a friend's expected call. The sound of a telephone ringing at 3 O'Clock in the morning can be annoying and maybe alarming. The sound of a doorbell ringing during the day may be pleasant, but in the middle of the night may be a worry or even frightening.

Hypothesis: When young people and older people are surveyed as to a list of sounds they think are pleasant or unpleasant, the results will be different between the different age groups.

You need:

  • Paper
  • Pencil
  • Clipboard
  • A day of listening
  • 10 teenagers
  • 10 older adults
  • Use of a computer and printer with a word processing program (optional) or access to a copy machine.

Procedure: For one whole day, pay attention to all of the sounds you hear. Carry paper, a pencil and a clipboard to make a list of all the daily sounds around your home and neighborhood. Some sounds you may not have paid much attention to before, for example: toast popping up in a toaster, a door chime, a church bell, popcorn popping, a car horn, the crackling of fire in a fireplace, the telephone ringing, birds chirping, the next door neighbour's dog barking, an umpire or referee blowing a whistle during a whistle during a sporting event, insects buzzing in your ear, the screech of car brakes, and a friend blowing air across the top of a soda bottle.

After you have made up your list, think about other sounds you sometimes hear; a babbling brook, rap music playing loudly on a boom box, someone sitting at a table "drumming" a pencil in beat with a song in his head.

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Take your notes and make a list of fifty sounds. Alongside the items, make three columns and hear them Pleasant, Unpleasant, and No Response. Make twenty copies of yout list (or use a computer to make up and run off copies)

Give your survey to ten adults and ten teenagers (write their names at the top). Ask each one to mark one column for each item on the list. Tally their marked answers, totalling the Pleasant, Unpleasant, and No Response items for all of the adults, then do the same for the teens. Which age group found which sounds to be pleasant or unpleasant? Are there sounds that they agreed on?

Results and Conclusion: Write down the results of your experiment. Come to a conclusion as to whether or not your hypotheis was correct.

Something more: Rearrange the results of your survey based on male and female, rather than on age group.

Thanks for reading this one! Hope you liked it! If you want more on Fast and Easy Science Fair Projects, you can try my other Hubs relating to the topic. Here are five of my Top Hubs on Fast and Easy Science Fair Projects for you:

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Don Ship (author) on December 12, 2010:

Thank you, Princess!

princess g on December 11, 2010:

Wow.that's really interesting. good idea for a science project too

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