In May, as we celebrate Better Hearing and Speech Month, we look to promote awareness of communication in all its forms, which includes storytelling and discourse. As we close out the month, we wanted to suggest an app that promotes dialogue about communication (and provides a source of expository text), aligns with MindWing’s ThemeMaker® Maps, and suggests a twist on using the SGM® iPad App!
The San Francisco Exploratorium’s free Sound Uncovered app for iPad provides a wealth of information about hearing and sound, but is also a fun way to build language skills. Like many science and content area apps, it provides a context for developing language through narrative and expository content. The app is designed to be a way for students to “explore the surprising side of sound” through VERY cool interactive audio, video and text-based activities. Each chapter explores a different aspect of sound and explains a key idea about our hearing, often presenting topics that can be clarified through expository text structures: lists, sequences, descriptions, and cause-effect relationships. Although the language can be challenging, the app provides an opportunity to work on Tier 2 and curriculum vocabulary. The interactives are sure to hook your students (the app is particularly suited to upper elementary, middle and high school students), and teacher scaffolding and MindWing’s language maps will help them comprehend the content.
Each activity can be analyzed and presented a different way, using Thememaker® maps but also the SGM® iPad App! MindWing’s app is slated to receive some expository icons through a future update, but for now the narrative icons can be “repurposed” to develop informational text structures. Let’s take a look at some examples:
The Hear ’n There Interactive plays a “bedtime story” and asks you to choose a mystery location to hear how it would sound there. As the list of locations develops, text explains the acoustic qualities of the place and why the sound changes.
A ThemeMaker® List Map or SGM®’s Action/Attempts icons can be used to map the list. Note that Sound Uncovered does not multitask, meaning that when you leave the app to write in SGM®, you’ll have to navigate back to your chapter. This is easily done, and the SGM® app will preserve any text you have typed as you switch between the two apps.
Silent Day, Noisy Night lets the student experience the sounds of a campsite in the day and nighttime (a great listening activity), then explains the cause of the acoustical differences.
Use a Thememaker® Cause-Effect Map or SGM’s Kickoff and Tie-Up icons to emphasize the connection between temperature and sound travel.
How Old Are Your Ears? is personally my favorite interactive in the app. It presents an interactive slider that can be moved until you can hear the high-frequency sound presented. The activity then “guesses” your age based on where you could hear the sound. The expository text accompanying the activity describes the sequence of presbycusis, or age-related hearing loss. Did you know the word presbycusis derives from a Greek phrase meaning “old man?” I didn’t!
The Action/Attempt icons again become useful with numbered text to help students map this progression, or alternately use a Thememaker® Sequence Map.
Sound Uncovered would also be a great pairing with MindWing’s Universal Magnet Set to visually represent and assist students in explaining the many ideas within the world of sound and hearing, as well as how these relate to communication skills. This post has only provided a sampling of the terrific content in this app; we are sure you will find much more expository text to map within its other “exhibits.”
For a video demonstration and explanation of the Sound Uncovered app, check out the following video: