From the physics department, I started my morning with a fascinating bit of reading from FiveThirtyEight.
They hooked me with the intro line:
The questions kids ask about science aren’t always easy to answer. Sometimes, their little brains can lead to big places adults forget to explore. With that in mind, we’ve started a series called Science Question From a Toddler, which will use kids’ curiosity as a jumping-off point to investigate the scientific wonders that adults don’t even think to ask about.
You want to capture my attention? That’s a pretty good way to do it.
What follows is a really approachable discussion of sound energy that is designed to be understandable but doesn’t skimp on all the science-y goodies to do it. It also doesn’t shirk on the drama.
A sound is a shove — just a little one, a tap on the tightly stretched membrane of your ear drum. The louder the sound, the heavier the knock. If a sound is loud enough, it can rip a hole in your ear drum. If a sound is loud enough, it can plow into you like a linebacker and knock you flat on your butt. When the shock wave from a bomb levels a house, that’s sound tearing apart bricks and splintering glass. Sound can kill you.
Go ahead and give it a read. I’d consider using it in a high school physics course. Although, full disclosure: I can’t universally recommend FiveThirtyEight since I know they also write about a lot of other topics and not all of their writers stick to basic school-appropriate rules, like no swears.
It also mixes in a bit of history (some nice story-telling on the eruption of Krakatoa) and some nice unit discussions (hertz, decibels, some prefixes get in the mix, too.)
All in all, definitely an article worth checking out.