Noisy Bug Sing-Along

BUG_COVER2Although the snow and rain may be keeping your students inside, you can engage them in a dynamic and interactive lesson with Noisy Bug Sing-Aloud.

This book introduces both a life science topic (insects) and physical science topic (sound vibration).

The reader is treated to scientifically accurate, up-close depictions of some very cool bugs. It explains why the bugs make the sounds they do, and how they do it—and it’s not with their voices! The audio files that are available online illustrate how sound waves look when they’re recorded.

This lesson engages children by having them feel the vibrations they make when they hum. Then, through a demonstration, they learn the four ways that bugs make sound vibrations. The lesson ends with a fun, creative activity—designing an imaginary bug and creating the sound it makes.

Suggested Grade Level: K-2

Suggested Time: 1-2 class sessions

Materials for demonstration:

  • Index card
  • Fingernail file or emery board
  • Three 12-inch (30-cm) round balloons.
  • 10-ounce (300-ml) plastic glass or can
  • Rubber band
  • 4-by-6-inch piece of cardboard.
  • 2 pencils


  1. Engage students by having them touch the sides of their throat with the tips of their fingers while they hum a familiar song, such as Happy Birthday. 
  2. Ask them what they felt. Explain that the vibrations they felt moved the air, which then vibrated their ear drums. Their vibrating ear drum vibrated tiny bones inside of their ears, which  their brain translated as sound.
  3. Have students explore what other sounds they can make. Be prepared for a noisy classroom, along with lots of laughter. (A good antidote for a dreary day!)
  4. Have students choose one of their sounds to share with others, either in a small group or with the whole class. Ask the listeners: Does the sound have a high or low pitch? What is the volume of the sound — is it loud or soft?
  5. Explain that humans have flexibility in our mouth, tongue and lips that lets us form a wide range of precise sounds. You may want to read this NPR story for more background information about making human sounds.
  6. Introduce the topic of bug sounds by reading aloud the book Noisy Bug Sing-Along. Show students how they can read the letters on the page to make the bug’s sound. Make the sound together as a class.
  7. Listen to the actual sounds that the bugs make. (Access them on the Dawn Publications activities page. Scroll down the page to Noisy Bug Sing-Along and click on the audio files.

[You may want to explain the sound wave graph now or later. Tell students that when bugs to make a sound, they are actually creating a little bit of air pressure that travels through the air as a vibration, just like the vibrations the students made when they hummed. This is called a “sound wave.” When the bug sounds are recorded, they can be made into sound wave graphs, as shown in the back of the book an on the audio files. The height of the line from the middle represents how loud the sound is.]

8. Explain that bug sounds are often hard to imitate with our voices because bugs usually make the sounds mechanically with parts of their body. Demonstrate the four ways that bugs make sounds by using simple materials and following these directions. In summary, bugs make sounds in one of these ways: (1) Rubbing two body parts together, like a cricket that rubs two wings together. (2) Vibrating wings, like a bee. (3) Pushing out air, like a cockroach. (4) Vibrating a special membrane (tymbals), like a cicada.

 9. Using common items found in the classroom, have students create a bug sound using one of the four ways. Then have them draw an illustration of the bug.
10. Have students elaborate by sharing their bug illustration within a small group and explaining how their bug makes its sound.
11. Conclude with a bug concert by having all of the bugs in the class “sing” together.

 Explore more about Noisy Bugs—Information and Ideas

Common Core Connection
~Reading Informational Text: Integration of Knowledge and Ideas K.7, 1.7, 2.7; Range of Reading and Text Complexity K.9, 1.9, 2.9
~Speaking and Listening: Collaboration and Comprehension K.1, 1.1, 2.1; Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas K.5, 1.5, 2.5

 Science Framework Connection
~Wave Properties  (1)
~Structure and Properties of Matter (K, 2)







subscribe     Blog by Carol Malnor I love making connections: kids and nature, science and reading, fun and learning. I discovered the joy of connecting Dawn Publications' books with kids when I was a classroom teacher. Dawn's books were easy to incorporate into my lessons and the kids loved them. I used picture books with students of all ages, from primary school all the way up through 9th grade. Over the years, my relationship with Dawn changed and developed, and I authored Dawn’s Teacher’s Guides as well as writing books for children 4-14 years old. ARTICLE How to Use Creative Nonfiction Picture Books in Support of Common Core and Science ACTIVITIES Dawn Publications STANDARDS Common Core State Standards Next Generation Science Standards National Science Teachers Association Picture Perfect Science   OTHER FAVORITES Dawn Publications Children and Nature Network
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