SOUND CHOICES educational kits are STEM kits designed for children grades K- 8th with hands-on activities that can be completed in outdoor or indoor settings, with all size groups.  The program is divided into three categories, Physics of Sound, Terrestrial Sound, and Marine Sound, followed by an appendix with additional resources and information.

All three activity sections present background information on the lesson being taught along with:

  • Experiential Learning ● Experiments using Scientific Method ● Testing Hypotheses

Side bars on each activity sheet have:

  • Lesson Objectives ● Next Generation Science Standards ● Key Definitions


Physics of Sound activities teach students that sound is energy. There are different experiments to understand sound as energy, frequency, wavelength, and how sound travels. Several exercises allow students to experience how sound moves outdoors and how it interacts with foliage, rocks, and trees.

Terrestrial Sound lessons let students experience the world through the perspectives of land-based wildlife. These experiences are designed to increase empathy for wildlife and establish a deep concern for the natural world.  Students explore how predators and prey use sound and how noise interferes with this delicate system. Students explore transportation noise and how it has increased rapidly. Other lessons explore how relationships in nature are connected and how removing or disturbing one aspect will affect the whole ecosystem. Another lesson challenges students to become National Park employees and to make suggestions on how to manage a park. Several of the activities were inspired by the National Park’s education outreach and research program.

Marine Sound lessons emphasize the need for marine life to be able to hear and be heard.  This section was created with a partnership with USGS for the background information and several of the lessons. Students learn about the tremendous increase in shipping noise in the past decades and the impact on ecosystems. Students learn how we contribute to the increase of shipping noise in the oceans by what we buy and how we can make better choices. Additional lessons include experiential learning activities on how marine mammals use echolocation and how noise interferes with that process.

These kits have been tested by educators and their students and deemed to be comprehensive, well researched, and fun!


“When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.”                                                 ― John Muir

In order to protect and sustain the natural world, natural sound and silence need to be protected. The ability of wildlife to hear and communicate with sound is vital to the health of populations and to sustaining a healthy ecosystem. As noise increases and invades almost every open space via things such as airplanes, cars, ships, oil and well pumps, the shrinking natural world is put under more and more pressure to sustain itself.

Noise pollution is decreasing viable habitat.  The National Park Service is on the forefront of new research into the impacts of sound.  Conservationists now need to be aware of landscape with the overlay of where noise invades the habitat.

Through SOUND CHOICES educational kits, students are informed about the implications of human-made sound throughout the natural world in a fun and engaging way. Exposure to this critical information in such a personally meaningful way introduces students to potential career opportunities as National Park employees, researchers, advocates, and scientists.

The knowledge presented in SOUND CHOICES is vital and urgent for current and future generations to understand. How can youth and next generations connect and care for the environment if they can no longer hear the natural world? What world would we live when nature’s voice is drowned out by technology? What the human race loses is incalculable and the implications of health mentally, emotionally, and spiritually are immeasurable.

What happens if we can no longer hear?

“As long as I live, I’ll hear waterfalls and birds and winds sing. I’ll interpret the rocks, learn the language of flood, storm, and the avalanche. I’ll acquaint myself with the glaciers and wild gardens, and get as near the heart of the world as I can.”                 ― John Muir


Our educational kits have been distributed and used by school-based educators, after school programs and librarians.  Here’s some of the feedback we’ve gotten:

“The kit is awesome!”

“The kit helps you to address environmental issues from a different view point.”

“Lessons were a success. The children loved being able to have a visual and hands on way of learning about sound and how it can affect the environment. Yes, they grasped the concepts we were trying to introduce!”

“The students really liked the game with the squeakers and the clickers.  It got them listening harder and working together to find their pod.”

“Using the kit for the summer camp went awesome. Christian (the teacher that I passed the kit on to) was a history teacher and did not have a science background. She found the explanations in the notebook were sufficient to do the activities.  She didn’t need to go to the store, she had all the supplies she needed in the kit. “

“The tablet can be used for various activities/projects for the entire school. It can introduce technology with the STEM kit. It enables a variety of hands-on learning opportunities. The uses are endless to enhance the kit.”

“The kit has a lot of value. It shows environmental issues from a different perspective. I am so appreciative of the workshop and the kit. I can’t emphasize it enough. It can be a cool thing at the library for afterschool- it will be entertainment, educational and engaging.”