Ears to Hear:
How many ears do you have? Our two ears collect sound vibrations and tell us more accurately where a sound is coming from. Ears come in all sizes and shapes. What are some other animals that have ears? Discuss the ears of rabbits, elephants, rhinoceros, dogs, bats and whales.

What is a vibration? Quivering, shaking to and fro or side to side, back and forth. Sound waves are vibrations that are invisible and travel through the air.

Ears collect sound vibrations and send messages to our brain that tells us what we hear. They help us keep our balance. We make sounds to communicate warnings, our needs, information, or to sing.

Point out and discuss the parts of the ear:

OUTER EAR = The part you see that collects sound waves and sends them through the Ear canal. This is where wax is made that collects dirt and helps fight off infection. The EAR DRUM receives the sound waves, is also part of the outer ear, and is a piece of skin (like the head of a drum) that sends vibrations to the bones of the inner ear.

MIDDLE EAR = Turns sound waves to vibrations. It consists of the OSSICLES, three tiny bones – HAMMER, ANVIL, and STIRRUP (the smallest bone in our body) that lead to the oval window and send the sound vibrations to the inner ear. The middle ear is connected to the Eustachian tube that regulated the air pressure in the ear. When there is a change of pressure going up a mountain or flying in a plane, this is what causes your ears to make a little pop.

INNER EAR = Here the vibrations go into the COCHLEA that looks like a snail shell. It is filled with fluid and tiny hairs that send electrical signals through the auditory nerve to the brain and the brain translates what we hear. 3 SEMICIRCULAR CANALS are next to the cochlea and keep us balanced. They report to the brain the movements of the head. The skull acts as a resonance chamber like the body on a guitar and amplifies the sound.

How does hearing help us? We can communicate easier if we can hear sounds, gain information about our world, hear warnings or sirens, listen to music, or someone reading a book. How can we protect our ears from injury or infection? Don’t put anything in your ear smaller than your elbow! Use earplugs if noise is too loud. Keep ears dry to keep from infections. A few drops of alcohol will get water out and hydrogen peroxide in a little water will dissolve and rinse out ear wax and dirt)

With swimmers ear the bump or tragus is sore. If there is an inner ear infection you will run a fever and it hurts when you swallow. THREE CHEERS FOR THE EARS!

Activities: Teach them the sign language for I love you and let them know that people who cannot hear use sign language. Examine models of animals with different ears. Experiment making sounds with their body clapping, snapping, and tapping. Make the tuning fork vibrate and listen to the sound. Let children turn around a few times and stop to notice that they get a little dizzy until the fluid in their ears stops moving around. Examine the model of the ear. Listen to recording of sounds animals make. Play some listening games “What is it? Match the Sound, High-Low, or Did You Hear That?”I have a sound bingo game we play and I love to use the melody bells and let them tell me which one is higher or lower or let them put the bells in ascending order from low to high.

Materials: Models of animals showing ears of different sizes and shapes, tuning forks, glass of water to show how vibration travels, Model of the ear, Chart showing the parts of the ear, Chart showing sound waves, Ear puzzle, Drum and peas(or rice) to show vibration, Glass of water to show how water keeps moving when the glass is still .(this is why we get dizzy on rides at the fair or when we stop spinning), Earplugs, melody bells, sound bingo game.