Operation BANG

Condensed Curriculum – 2nd and 3rd Grades

Expected Outcome: After this 25-minute presentation, the students will demonstrate their understanding of the hazardous effects of noise on hearing through teacher/student interaction and an oral review.

Materials Needed:

  1. Spaghetti and clay/Playdough
  2. Stereo headset (optional)
  3. Audio cassette player
  4. EAR audio cassette


  1. Introduction to the field of audiology
  2. Explanation of the difference between deafness and hearing loss
  3. Discussion of noises in our every day lives that can cause a hearing loss
  4. Explanation of how to wear a stereo headset safely using a volunteer
  5. Spaghetti and clay demonstration
  6. Explanation of the three ways to protect hearing
  7. Listening demonstration with EAR audio cassette
  8. Review:
    1. How to wear a stereo headset safely
    2. The three ways to protect hearing

Spaghetti and Clay/Playdough Demonstration

The purpose of this exercise is to visually demonstrate how the anatomical structures of the ear become permanently damaged by excessive noise exposure. Within the inner ear lies the cochlea and within the cochlea is the Organ of Corti. The Organ of Corti contains the tiny hair cells that become permanently damaged by noise. The uncooked spaghetti represents the hair cells within the organ of Corti. The clay or Playdough represents the tectoral membrane on which the hair cells reside.

  1. In the palm of your hand, place a flattened piece of clay/Playdough approximately 2 x 3 inches square and approximately 1/2 inch thick.
  2. Insert a small handful (approximately 10 full-length pieces) of uncooked spaghetti into the clay/Playdough so that the spaghetti stands upright without assistance. Be sure the top ends of the spaghetti are even in length.
  3. Begin talking at a soft volume level.
  4. With your free hand, gently press the top ends of the spaghetti into your palm.
  5. With a gently swaying motion, make the spaghetti bow from side to side in rhythm with your soft voice.
  6. Say to the children,”When the sound is soft, little hairs way inside your ear sway back and forth like this. It is these little hairs that allow you to hear. If you do not have these little hairs, you cannot hear”.
  7. Start talking louder.
  8. Make the spaghetti bow with slightly greater vigor but without breaking the spaghetti. Tell the children, “When the sound gets louder, the little hairs move more”.
  9. Start talking very loud.
  10. Make the spaghetti bow and then break. Tell the children, “what happened to my little hairs inside my ear?” Allow the children to tell you what they think happened to the hairs. Then say, “When the sound gets so loud, the little hairs break. But that’s okay, the little hair will grow back, right?” Allow the children to give their responses and then tell them, “Once those little hairs are broken, they don’t grow back and your hearing is damaged forever.”
  11. Allow for some dialogue to follow as the children have questions about the demonstration.