Be still. Listen. Listen some more. What do you hear? Where is the sound?
Create a map that shows how the sounds you hear look and record their locations in relation to you. Grab your nature journal (or paper and a clipboard), something to write with, and let’s head outside!
Where: Outdoors in quiet space
Materials: Journal or clipboard with paper, pen/pencil
Time: 15-20 minutes
Who: Kids, and preferably their adults as well!
What: Create a ‘map’ with drawings and labels (optional) of all the things you hear surrounding you; in their approximate location from where you are sitting.
How: Draw yourself (or something that represents yourself like an X) in the middle of the page. Fill the page up with drawings (and labels if you’d like) of everything you hear surrounding you (from above, below, front, back, left, right).
The key is to draw how the sound might LOOK, not the actual thing making the sound. How might you add the bird or bee that flies overhead? How might you add the neighbor’s rooster? The wind that comes from behind you? A car in the distance?
Be sure to label your map with the Location, Date, and Time.
Debrief: After a 10-15 minute sit, take another 5-10 minutes to compare and talk about the maps you created.
– In what different ways did you represent the same sounds?
– Do you agree on the source for each sound?
– Were there any Mystery Sounds?
– Which sounds did you both hear?
– And which sounds were you the only one to notice?
Extension: Repeat with new locations around your house or yard for new perspectives, or from the same spot at different times of day.
– How can you tell what season it is just from the sounds that you hear?
– Notice how some of the sounds you heard were human-generated and others were nature-generated. Where would you go to hear ONLY human or nature generated sounds. What would it be like there?
– What did you hear that you hadn’t noticed before stopping to listen?
Math Connection: What fraction/percentage of the sounds you recorded were human-generated versus nature-generated? Make sound maps in different locations around your home, yard, neighborhood, or community open space (or even just at different times of the day). How do these proportions change with each different map?