Graduate Research Papers


Open Access Graduate Research Paper


Sound--Study and teaching (Early childhood);


I designed an exploratory study for adapting an early elementary physics of sound science module to use in preschool. The purpose of the study was to observe and collect data regarding the use of an inquiry-based physical knowledge activity, implemented in a play-based preschool setting, and how this knowledge could assist in advancing Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education in early childhood.

Using random sampling from a classroom of 20 students, I chose six participants between the ages of four and five. As prekindergarten children experimented with sound, I probed understanding of two of the main concepts in the existing module: volume and pitch. Results indicate productive questions about amplitude can be a successful starting point for inquiry into loud and soft sounds. Later such pitch vocabulary as high or low could be added – perhaps introduced when talking about music in Expressive Arts time – thus integrating science concepts into other areas of the curriculum. Through the use of productive questioning, this study provided an opportunity for preschool students to participate in a physical knowledge learning activity. This study provides a current review of literature that supports the use of inquiry-based play as a means for laying the foundation for early STEM development.

Year of Submission


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Department of Curriculum and Instruction

First Advisor

Linda May Fitzgerald


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Date Original


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