Free learning resources from arts, cultural and heritage organisations.

Teachers' Notes

Resource created by The British Library.

This resource offers a series of open activity and discussion ideas for you to build into lessons or as standalone session. To extend learning you could explore this resource as part of a wider topic on journeys.

Curriculum Links

  • KS2 Geography - locational knowledge, geographical skills
  • KS1 and 2 Music – experiment with, create, select and combine sounds, and compose music for a range of purposes using the inter-related dimensions of music
  • KS1 and 2 English – handwriting, writing composition, vocabulary, grammar and punctuation, listening; evaluating and debating, role play and other drama techniques to build meaning and higher quality writing
  • KS2 Science - sound.

Activity Ideas

  • Describing sounds:
    After listening to each sound use imaginative thinking to describe it. It doesn’t matter if you don’t know what the sound is. Just be creative! You could start by completing these sentences:
    I hear…
    I think…
    I wonder…
    What if…?
    In your group draw a picture/pictures of what you have described.
    Ask your teacher to reveal the source of the sound. Were you surprised?
    Now go on a sound safari around your school site. In each location close your eyes and try to describe a sound you can hear.
    You can extend this activity by creating a story together based on the sounds you hear.
  • Creating sounds:
    Create your own sound map of your school or your local area.
    What areas will you choose and why?
    Mark your selected locations on a map.
    Record sounds at each location.
    Use digital mapping tools to link the sounds to the map.
    Create your own immersive soundscapes for your school.
    Use the curious sounds you have recorded from around the school and other sounds you might create yourself. Edit your sounds together using your school’s music technology software e.g. GarageBand.
    Link your sound recordings to a QR code and print this off to place in different locations around the school.
    You could even create a seated chill out area, with headphones for other students to relax and listen to your soundscapes.
  • The science of sound
    Conduct an experiment, using a variety of materials and musical instruments.
    What materials or instruments make similar sounds to those you have heard in the recordings?
    What does this tell you about the source of the sounds you are hearing?
    Work in small groups to compare the pitch, volume and whether the sounds change, echo or become more faint. Make a table with your comparisons.
    What is the relationship between the volume of the sound and how far away it is?
    What would the strength of the vibration be for a loud sound compared to a quiet sound?

Discussion Ideas

  • Map the real locations of the sounds on a large printed classroom map of Leeds and discuss the following questions:
    How many students have been to each location?
    How did you get there: bus, walk, train, car?
    What did you do there?
    Calculate the distance from your school to each location.
  • Why is sound so important to humans and other animals? For food, safety, location, pleasure, structure.
  • What would life be like without sound?
    How do people who are D/deaf or hard of hearing experience sound? Often people who are D/deaf do not see deafness as a medical condition or a disability, only as a difference. They experience the world very differently to people who have full hearing. See if you can find out more on the internet.