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Clapping? Where?

What You Need:

Paper and Pen for Charting, At least four friends


  1. 1. Use your ears to figure out where a sound is coming from.
  2. 2. You need at least 5 people to play: one person to be the guesser, one to be the pointer and chart the answers, and the rest to be clappers
  3. 3. First draw a chart with each player's name in separate rows down the left side of the paper. Write "Both Ears" and "One Ear" in separate columns across the top. Divide those columns in half and write "right" and "wrong" above each half of each column.
  4. 4. Predict whether your hearing is better when you listen with both ears or with one ear. Now it's time to find out!
  5. 5. The guesser closes his eyes and stands in the center of a circle of clappers.
  6. 6. The pointer points to someone in the circle to clap.
  7. 7. The clapper claps and the guesser points to where he thinks the sound is coming from.
  8. 8. The pointer charts each wrong and right answer.
  9. 9. Now do the same thing again - but this time, the guesser closes his eyes AND covers one ear.
  10. 10. Make sure everybody gets a chance to be the guesser. Guessers get five guesses per round.

When everyone has had a turn, compare your results. Are there more right answers with both ears listening or with one ear covered? Why do you think there is or isn't a difference?


Ready to hear the sci scoop? When you hear a sound, your brain uses the information from your ears to figure out where the sound is coming from. If your left ear catches sound before your right ear, your brain knows that the sound is coming from your left. But if one ear is covered, your brain doesn't have as much information, so it's harder to tell where a sound is coming from. Your head might also block the sound to your ears. For example, if a sound was coming from the right it might sound differently to the left ear because your head is in the way. To make it harder, try clapping above your head or down near the ground. Or try standing in a line instead of a circle.

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