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Re: [Phys-l] sound advice

Here's a speed of sound measurement that gets your students out in the
nice spring weather. You need a huge flat field, a drum of some sort
(I've used a wooden box and on another occasion, a metal trash can, a
student to act as a drummer, a drum stick, a metronome--I've used a
simple pendulum that the class calculates the length of in advance--,
and a trundle wheel or long measuring tape. The drummer beats on the
drum once per second (twice per second if your field isn't all that
big) with a pretty big arm motion. A group of students walks away from
the drummer. As they walk away, the sound of the drumming gets out of
synchronization with what they see the drummer doing. Once they walk
far enough away it looks as if the motion of the drummer is back in
synchronization with what they are hearing. At that point they are at
that distance from the drummer that it takes sound to travel in one
second. Divide the distance by the time to get the speed of sound.

-----Original Message-----
From: [mailto:phys-l-] On Behalf Of kyle forinash
Sent: Wednesday, April 09, 2008 2:43 PM
Subject: [Phys-l] sound advice

I'm at the end of teaching a non-major course on the physics of sound
for the first time and I'm running one class short of material. I've
done everything I can think of. Any suggestions for the last class?

Sorry for the pun.


'Violence is the last refuge of the
Issac Asimov

kyle forinash 812-941-2039
Forum for Physics Educators