Activity 2: Sound Observation
Activity time: 14 minutes
Materials for Activity
- Newsprint, markers (red, green, and blue), and tape
- Clipboards, paper, and pencils for all participants
Preparation for Activity
- Set up a clipboard with paper and a pencil for each participant.
- Plan to walk through a variety of both indoor and outdoor spaces, together or in small groups, each with a co-leader. Check in with leaders of any groups participants might visit while searching for sounds.
Description of Activity
Participants tune in to noises that fill a variety of spaces yet might ordinarily escape attention.
Tell the group they will go on a listening project. Tell them where, how, for how long, and with whom they will walk. Say:
Your task is to identify as many sounds as possible in each environment you visit, for example, a car, a light switch, a voice, a scratching sound, a bird call. Classify the sounds you hear: Mechanical/electronic? Human? Or non-human?
Give each participant a clipboard with paper and pencil. Emphasize that in order to hear as many sounds as possible, participants will themselves need to be silent.
Make the listening tour. Then, return to the meeting space.
Post blank newsprint. Have participants read aloud the sounds they noted, and record this information on newsprint. Capture all the sounds everyone heard. Sounds heard by multiple people only need to be written once.
Then, ask the group to classify each sound: Was it mechanical/electronic, human, or non-human? Make a red dot next to each technological sound, a blue dot next to each human-made sound, and a green dot next to each non-human sound.
Engage the group to reflect with questions such as:
- Did you hear more natural sounds or technological sounds?
- How might this balance differ in different environments (home, school, playground, beach, woods, back yard, front steps)?
- If you had not been deliberately listening for sounds today, which ones might you not have heard?
- How might your mood be affected by the different kinds of sounds you are exposed to during the day?
- How might your concentration be affected?
- How might your energy level be affected?
Including All Participants
If any member of your group has significant hearing loss, you may wish to choose a different activity.
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