Prisoner of Echo Teacher Guide - Sound Transmission

Sound Transmission

Time Required

2 Class Periods


Students will investigate properties of sound by completing a lab.




Slinky or similar spring toy


Computer and Internet accessTuning fork (Exp. 1)Rubber stopper (Exp. 1)Glass container of water (Exp. 1)2 rulers, one metal and one wooden (Exp. 1)Wooden rod, at least 2 cm in diameter (Exp. 2)Nail (Exp. 2)Metal rod, at least 2 cm in diameter (Exp. 2)Plastic rod, at least 2 cm in diameter (Exp. 2)Paper or cardboard tube, at least 2 cm in diameter (Exp. 2)Meterstick (Exp. 3)


Gather the lab materials and make copies of the Lab Sheet: Sound Transmission and the Prisoner of Echo Written Assessment.

Warm Up: Game Discussion

Guide a class discussion of Prisoner of Echo by asking students about their experiences playing the game for the first time. Record students' responses on the board.

  • What did they learn by playing the game?
  • How did their prior knowledge of sound help them play?
  • What was most challenging about the game?


Have students play Prisoner of Echo with their partners for approximately 20 minutes. Students should continue where they left off with their previous game.

Pause and Think

As they play, ask students to pause the game for the following discussion questions.

  • Which objectives have you completed?
  • How were you able to avoid being caught by the sound bots?
  • Did you use echolocation? Explain.
  • Create a list of instructions for a student just learning the game. Be sure to suggest ways of successfully completing the objectives.

Lab: Sound Transmission

Explain to students that they will be working with a partner to complete a lab about sound. Briefly demonstrate the basic movement of sound waves using the pre-compressed helical spring toy.

  • Hold up the toy and vibrate the first coil back and forth horizontally. Explain that this illustrates the movement of sound waves. The wave bouncing back toward your hand illustrates an echo. Point out that the parts of the spring represent air molecules that vibrate back and forth. Sound waves are longitudinal waves because the air particles that vibrate move back and forth in the direction of the wave movement.

  • Draw a diagram on the board of a longitudinal wave similar to the one shown. Point out each part of the wave as you review the diagram. Explain that a wavelength is measured as the distance between the centers of two compressions. The loudness, or intensity, of a sound depends on the amplitude of the sound wave.

    • Amplitude is the fluctuation or displacement of a wave from its position of equilibrium. With sound waves, Amplitude is the extent to which air particles are displaced: the bigger the amplitude, the louder the sound.
    • Pitch is generally referred to as the highness or lowness of a sound
    • Frequency is the number of compressions that pass a fixed point per second; the higher the frequency, the higher the pitch.

Distribute the Lab Sheets and have students review the introduction and materials lists. As they are reading, distribute the lab materials to each student pair. Review the procedural steps as a class, including any safety and cleanup protocols students should follow when working with the materials. As students complete the lab, circulate to support as needed.

After all students have completed the lab, review their lab summaries as a class.

Sample summaries can be found here.

Show What You Know

Have students complete the Prisoner of Echo Written Assessment.

Wrap-Up Activity: Group Concept Map Review and 3-2-1 Summary

Display the concept map from the Pre-Assessment. Review the map as a class and revise it as needed, based on what students learned in the lesson.

Have students write a 3-2-1 Summary about Prisoner of Echo:

  • 3 things they liked most about playing the game
  • 2 things they learned about sound by playing the game
  • 1 thing they would change about the game