Operation BANG

Day 2: The Noise Experience

Objective: The students will know and apply the 3-foot rule for determining the presence of dangerous noise. They will also learn to fit earplugs.


  1. As an attention step, review some facts about noise and hearing from the previous day. Discuss briefly how you talked about dangerous noise. Then ask, “How do you know when you’re in potentially damaging noise?” Explain the 3-foot rule: If you have to raise your voice to be heard at arm’s length, then you are in dangerous noise.
  2. Since the students will be exposed to hazardous noise, they need to wear hearing protection. Before conducting The Noise Experience, teach the children how to fit earplugs by writing the steps (see below) on the chalkboard or by writing the steps on an overhead transparency.
  3. The Noise Experience: Bring noise sources with various sound levels should to the school. Select items that can be found around the house as well as some “cool,” exciting sources. Some ideas may be: blow dryer, vacuum cleaner, personal stereo system, motorcycle, police siren, Army jeep, drum, cymbals, etc. Start a noise source. Ask the class if they think the noise is dangerously loud using the 3-foot rule and the noise thermometer as guides. Then using a sound level meter, have the children measure how loud the sound is. Since all students can’t see the sound level meter, have one student monitor it for 85 dB and flash the overhead lights or flashlight to let the class know the sound level.
  4. Homework: Using the 3-foot rule and their noise thermometers, inventory the noise in their homes. Make a list of things that seem to be dangerously loud. Also, have students think of ways to make the sound quieter.
  5. Transition to next topic or summarize and close as

Materials Needed:

  • Earplugs
  • Variety of noise sources
  • Sound level meter
  • Flashlight

Write on the board:

  • Roll earplug — very small
  • Reach over head
  • Pull ear away from head
  • Stick it in your ear
  • Hold it — wait 5 seconds
  • Repeat on the other side