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.