In celebration of May’s annual Better Hearing & Speech Month, my students are learning a lot about their ears, hearing and sound. Since I work with grades 3-8, I needed to develop activities for a wide range of ages and abilities.
For younger students, I used my latest Interactive Topic Books to explore basic ear anatomy. I also found this YouTube video helpful:
Using the diagram in the Parts of the Ear Interactive Topic Book or the diagram here, we used Play Dough to make a model of the ear. This activity allowed for discussion of each section of the ear. Since many of my younger students have frequent ear infections, discussing the ear canal and ear health was beneficial.
My older students appreciated the more “mature” illustrations and text in My Super Ears.
Here are some videos that worked well for the older set:
The model we created required resourcefulness and flexible thinking. We wanted to make it as 3-dimensional as possible and only drew the outer ear and ear canal. The fun was trying to find items that could be used for the middle and inner ear. The ear drum was a cardboard disc that we covered with plastic. The bones of the middle ear were old toys the kids found at home: a play hammer (incus) and broken slingshot (stapes). The anvil was challenging, but a recycled gift box did the trick! The cochlea was formed with large pipe cleaners donated by the art teacher.
Several of my students were so excited about their model that they presented them to their homeroom class!
Hands on learning is so effective for topics such as hearing and sound (stay tuned for my next post on activities we did to learn about sound). Students were busy looking at the illustrations, using their hands to create the model, and listening/discussing the materials. Using multiple modalities — hearing, kinesthetic, visual–has helped my students remember lesson details without trying to memorize anything! Most importantly, I hope this helps to set them on a path to a lifetime of good hearing health!