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Sound and Loudness

Experiment #30 from Physics Explorations and Projects

Education Level
High School


The goal of this activity is for students to determine a relationship between sound wave amplitude and decibel level. In the Preliminary Observations, students observe sound waves breaking a glass tumbler, either by watching a video or live demonstration. Students then discuss how the sound wave could break the glass, which particular wave characteristics are important in the process, and how one could measure them.

Safety Precaution: Because this investigation involves making loud noises, care must be taken to protect everyone’s hearing.


  • Design and perform an investigation.
  • Draw a conclusion from evidence.
  • Understand the relationship between wave amplitude and decibel level.

Sensors and Equipment

This experiment features the following sensors and equipment. Additional equipment may be required.

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This experiment is #30 of Physics Explorations and Projects. The experiment in the book includes student instructions as well as instructor information for set up, helpful hints, and sample graphs and data.

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