Ideas for Social Sciences

Listening in the classroom

Look at this image from a Norwegian classroom from the very early 60s, and ask how the students believe that this classroom sounded like. Which things in the classroom make noise? Think also about the acoustics of the room, and note the wood-burning stove and the pencil sharpener. Discuss which things in the classroom that are new since the 60s, and which have disappeared. Talk about this also in sonic terms.

Be completely quiet and listen to all the sounds in the classroom. let the class discuss the sounds they have heard. Discuss in class:
• Are there many disturbing noises? Is there a lot of sound from the class in the next room? Do all students and the teachers in the class make a lot of sound? Do the sounds change with the activities in class and how the class does? Which sounds dominate, which sounds are drowning? What does the sounds express?
• What does the sounds tell us about the society we live in?
• Technologically - machines? - Is there anything unusual in this school that we can hear?

Listening as fieldwork in the neighborhood

Look at the image of a Norwegian winter forest, and have the students imagine what this scene sounded like. Compare with the sounding environment around the school. Go for a walk in the neighborhood, and let the students write down the sounds they hear.
• Which sounds exists on the forest and not in the neigborhood?
• And vice versa?
• Do the students hear their own breathing in the neighborhood, as they do in a quiet forest? Do the students experience themselves differently in different environments?
• Which sounds are good to listen to in order to relax, which sounds makes them curious to find out more?
• Why?

Discuss the neighborhood, what it consists of. Which parts are new, which parts do the students remember from way back, which parts do they like the best? Does the students hear any problems, and can they be described accurately?

Listening exersise about language
Listen to the language as melody, and as rhythm. Are there other languages in class than English? Listen to the languages as rhythm and melody, and discuss how the same thing sounds differently in the different languages. Sing the melodies. Make rhythms.

Sound walk
Go for a sound walk. Go in the direction that sounds most interesting, and discuss as you go. Remember the path, and have the students write a story about the sound walk afterwords.