Where Science Meets Spirituality: A Lesson On The Properties Of Sound With Tibetan Singing Bowls
What They Think…
Students know that it’s Science time and that they are learning all about SOUND! – its’ vibrations, resonance, the cavity, pitch, volume, and now they get to partake in one more cool experiment that demonstrates these elements. They get to play, listen, share, and learn…much more than what they thought about Science!
What You Know…
Bronze Tibetan Bowls date back as far as 30,000 years from the bronze age. They were historically made throughout Asia and are a type of bell in the shape of a bowl that when struck around the edges, vibrates to produce sounds with various frequencies. While students may only be aware that they are learning about sound, they are also being exposed to a technique that has been used for years in order to create a calm, meditative state. The bowls are now used worldwide for meditation, relaxation, music, general well-being, and have also had great success in the healthcare system for post traumatic stress disorders and patients with cancer. It has been noted as well, that many teachers use Tibetan Singing Bowls within the classroom in order to focus children’s attention. With this lesson, you’ll have a class of focused, calm, and attentive students while also learning all about sound!
TRY IT! Then tell me if you wish your teacher had taught it!
1. Purchase or borrow a few Tibetan Singing Bowls (try for a variety of sizes, décor and materials). These can be purchased at most New Age stores or online.
2. Begin with a quiet meditation in which the students close their eyes while listening to a piece of Tibetan Singing Bowl music (either play a tune on your bowl or download a piece from youtube-there are many beautiful pieces).
3. Have the students reflect on what was heard (what sounds, vibrations, level of pitch etc.)
4. Then, provide the history of the Tibetan Singing bowls (see above).
5. Next, do a demo again with the bowls while the students’ eyes are open and allow for questions to be generated
**In our class, the students generated questions about the bowl and about sound that directed our experiment. For this experiment, I have left it pretty simple as I think the power is in what the students ask and discuss.**
6. Some areas to consider:
-playing the inside of the bowl vs. the outside
-pitch and how it changes
-what material the bowl is made from
We tried our experiment in a variety of ways and then discussed how vibration creates a sound and how it changes when we change the variables.
7. We then compared this experiment to one previous where we had filled different wine glasses with liquids and circled the rim of the glass with our finger.
-When we did this experiment, amazing discussions were generated and we ended up discussing how a Tibetan Bowl could help us to relax. We are all made up of a certain vibration within our bodies; the bowl creates a vibration which resonates with our bodies and brings us to a level of relaxation. So, while we learned a great deal about sound and vibration, we also related our learning back to the topic of energy!
The kids LOVED this experiment and even wanted to know where they could purchase their own Tibetan Singing Bowls 🙂