• DROP MULTIPLE-LETTER OBJECTS
Let students add special groups of letters to their codes. Groups of letters that have special sounds, like -ing or -tion, can be assigned to a single drop object to give students practice using these special letter groups. You could suggest:
• A blend sound: bl, pr, fl, etc.
• A digraph sound: th, ph, wh, ch, etc.
• A prefix: re-, en-, dis-, con-, etc.
• A suffix: -ing, -ed, -er, -est, etc.
• SEND MYSTERY LETTERS
Tell students to send a message that includes one letter not in their established alphabet. When one student drops a new object, the receiver must record a blank and then decode it from context.
• CREATE WHOLE-WORD CODES
Let the students assign whole words to six or more objects and use the word code to send sentences. The challenge is to see how many ways some or all of the words can be reorganized to communicate meaningful ideas.
• DROP IN OTHER LANGUAGES
Students from other countries can teach the class some words in their home language, using drop codes.
• WRITE SOUND STORIES WITH FEELING
Ask students to describe how they feel when they hear these sounds: sirens, dogs barking, fingernails on the chalkboard, airplanes flying overhead, kids laughing, waves on the beach, wind, rain. List sounds that make them feel good, and sounds that make them feel scared. Challenge them to write a happy or scary story using as many sound words as possible.
• EXPLORE ONOMATOPOEIA
Brainstorm words that imitate natural sounds. In every language, the sounds made by animals and natural events are often expressed by onomatopoetic words. For example, cats purr-purr. Bees buzz. Rain pitter-patters on the window. If students who speak languages other than English are in your class, compare the words they use to describe the sounds of animals or nature.
No. 29—Student Sheet
• PROBLEM OF THE WEEK
Shipwrecked on an island! During World War II, a small passenger ship hit a reef and washed up on an island in the Pacific Ocean. After the captain made sure everyone was safe, he called for help. But how did he keep the enemy from finding out where they were? He sent the message in code! He used music code to contact the navy.
Letters and numbers are assigned to half notes and quarter notes, arranged into a tune, and sent over the radio. Students are challenged to decode the message to discover how many men and women are marooned on the island and where the island is, using latitude and longitude. Finally, students are asked to package emergency supplies to sustain the survivors for 10 days.
Notes on the Problem. The first line of music decodes as:
people = 30 – 2 men = 24.
The second line of music decodes as:
N = 3 + 3 + 3 E = 123 + 44.
There are 28 people: 24 men and 4 women.
They are at 9° north latitude, 167° east longitude (Lib Island).
They will need 7 tents, 560 potatoes, 140 lemons, and 140 gallons of water.
• CREATE A NUMBER DROP
Have the groups set up a new code by assigning numerals and mathematics operations (+, -, ✕, and ÷) to the objects instead of letters. Encourage them to send arithmetic problems and answers.
• CREATE A SOUND-MATCHING GAME
You and your students can put one or more objects (beans, rice, paper clips, sand, etc.) into opaque plastic film canisters to make rattles. Make sets of two to four identical rattles. Distribute one film-canister rattle to each student. Challenge them to “sound off” and find the others who have the same rattle.
• START A LEARNING CENTER
Set up the Dropping In materials in a learning center for small groups of students. It’s a great activity for peer or cross-age teaching.
• PLAY WHERE’S THAT SOUND?
Play Where’s That Sound? at school. The game works very well with many students. Have a few volunteers sit in front of the class, blindfolded or with eyes closed. Have a few students around the room use identical sound makers, such as rulers that they can clap together. The volunteers can test their skills at identifying the location of the sound. Variations include:
• Facing the rest of the class, and facing the wall.
• Ears open, holding the ear flaps down.
• Press cotton or tissue over one ear.
Students explore their homes and neighborhoods to find the quietest and noisiest locations. They listen to the sounds in each location, and attempt to identify the sources of some of the sounds they hear. They also consider family members and friends who might use some form of hearing modification, such as hearing protection and hearing aids. Make copies of student sheet no. 33, Home/School Connection for Investigation 1, and send it home with students after completing this investigation.
No. 33—Student Sheet