Vibrating Insects: An Integrated Multimodal Unit On Sound For Early Elementary Students

ASU Author/Contributor (non-ASU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Rachel E. Wilson , Associate Professor (Creator)
Appalachian State University (ASU )
Web Site:

Abstract: Working with second-grade teachers, the authors designed a six-day integrated science and language arts unit to investigate the structures that insects use to make their sound vibrations. They were inspired by "The Very Quiet Cricket" (Carle 1990), which was used as the focus text for the unit, as well as "Bug Music" (Rothenberg 2013), which prompts readers to think about the noise that insects make as an inspiration for music. While Robertson and Meyer (2010) engaged middle grades students with the songs and sound wave images of various insects to teach about sound, the authors wanted to have concrete, physical examples to demonstrate sound energy vibrations to young learners. This lesson was designed a unit using multiple modes of representation for the insect body parts and their vibrations, including physical specimens, video, photographs, diagrams, and informational text. In addition, students represented their understanding using drawing, writing, and speaking. Using multiple modes of representation in the presentation to and production by students of science concepts is beneficial for early elementary students' learning (Wilson and Bradbury 2016), as well as for supporting the science learning of students with learning disabilities (Taylor and Villanueva 2014). By including various visual representations (physical specimens, video, photographs, and diagrams) along with more traditional informational text, science information is made more accessible to developing and struggling readers.

Additional Information

Wilson, R., Bradbury, L., Lunceford, A., and Stanbery, S. (2021). Vibrating Insects: An Integrated Multimodal Unit on Sound for Early Elementary Students, Science and Children, v58 n4 p41-46 Mar-Apr 2021. Publisher version of record available at:
Language: English
Date: 2021
Science Instruction, Elementary School Science, Interdisciplinary Approach, Language Arts, Music, Scientific Concepts, Concept Formation, Visual Aids, Teaching Methods

Email this document to