The Sound Boxes



A blue box containing six blue cylinders all of the same size.
These are partially filled with different substances so that each
gives a different sound when shaken.
Rice, semolina, sand, small stones, beads of the same size,
beans, corn, lentils, etc. may be used.
The cylinders are sealed; they cannot be opened.
A red box containing six red cylinders which are identical to the
blue cylinders in all respects except for color.

Note: In filling the cylinders put the same amount by weight in


The teacher takes one box of six cylinders to the child's table
and sits next to the child. The teacher takes the lid of the box
and places it under the box. The teacher then removes the
cylinders, and places them on the table. Now, the teacher shows
the child how to take the cylinders one at a time and, using only
one hand, shake them and listen to their sound. She does this by
carefully picking up one cylinder with her dominant hand and
listening intently as she shakes the cylinder. She then sets the
cylinder back on the table and invites the child to listen to the
cylinder. The teacher then proceeds to let the child listen to
each cylinder one at a time using only on hand. The child listens
to the different sound each makes as he does so.


The child takes a box of cylinders whenever he likes and shakes
them and listens to them.


  1. To make the child consciously aware of sounds.
  2. To train the ear.


The teacher takes three blue cylinders from the blue box. She
chooses the loudest, softest, and one in between. She then finds
the three red cylinders in the red box which match the sound
of the chosen blue cylinders.

She places the blue cylinders on one side of the child and
the red on the other. She then shakes one cylinder e.g. a red one
and listens to the sound with the child. She puts this cylinder in the middle.
She asks the child to shake the other cylinders in turn until he or she
finds one with the same sound as the one already shaken. (If the child
forgets the sound of the first one, he or she can always shake it again.)
When the child finds the matching cylinder the teacher shows the child to place
the pair side by side in the middle of the table. All the
cylinders are paired in this way. When all the cylinders are
paired the teacher suggest to the child that he or she check the work by
listening to each of the pairs again by going down the line of
pairs left in the middle and listening to them.
The child should not shake cylinders with both hands at the same time.  Two sounds at the same time may blend in the child's mind and not sound different, or the child may shake less strongly with one hand than with the other which may make one cylinder sound different in comparison to the other when they actually should sound the same.


The child uses the material, pairing the cylinders by sound, as
often as he or she likes.
When the child can match the three pairs easily, the child can have both boxes, containing
all six pairs, to use in this way.





When the child has finished pairing the cylinders he or she re-shakes
each pair listening to see if they are paired correctly.



The teacher takes one box of 6 cylinders to the child's table and shakes.  The teacher has checked earlier to make sure that each cylinder when shaken, produces a different volume of sound so they can be sorted from loudest to softest.  The teacher has the child help take the sound cylinders out of the box.  The teacher then shakes each cylinder, one at a time, and gets the child to choose the loudest. The teacher puts the loudest in front of the child and lets the child shake the remaining five and choose the loudest of these. The one chosen is placed next to the one previously selected. The teacher continues to let the child shake the cylinders and arrange them in a row in order of sound. They can be arranged from loudest to softest or vice versa.
When the child has finished, the teacher has him or her shake the cylinders one after the other while listening to the gradations of sound from loud to soft and from soft to loud.
 Remember to have the child shake only one cylinder at a time.


Loud - Soft
Loud - Louder - Loudest
Soft - Softer - Softest


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