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Akron Global Polymer Academy Lesson Plans

Building Polymer Cup Speakers

Grades: 9-12
Author: William Alkire, Susan Rhoades, Don Sobnoskyl
Source: Al Gunther, BER Handbook Physical Science 6-12


Students will establish criteria by which to test their speakers. Students will construct and test their speaker. The students will compare speakers and test variable components of a speaker.


What should students know as a result of this lesson?

What should the students be able to do as a result of this lesson?




  1. Teacher plays music thru CD player, emphasizing sound differences w/ and w/out bass.
  2. Teacher reviews how sound waves travel by asking students to explain what they remember.
  3. Teacher introduces challenge of making a speaker from scratch.

Assessment: Make sure that all students understand the task and how this will be evaluated against the criteria established by the class.


Students work together to research what makes a good speaker; if available, the students could take apart some old, broken speakers to see how these are wired.

  1. Students work in teams to make cup speaker.
  2. Students must demonstrate a working speaker.
  3. Teacher circulates around factory to monitor student progress.


Students explain their choice of speakers to development team based on clarity, volume and bass.Students are evaluated on the basis of:

  1. quality of construction
  2. clarity of sound
  3. ability to distinguish sounds according to volume changes
  4. ability to distinguish sounds according to bass changes

Assessment: How does the teacher bring the discussion around to polymer materials?


Students can extend experiments by controlling variables:

  1. number of magnets
  2. magnet strength
  3. number of coilsd. methods of attachment of coilse. methods of attachment of magnets.


Direct Instruction: Teacher discusses directions to make speaker.

Cooperative Learning: Production teams will work cooperatively according to team divisions.



Basic knowledge of the physics of sound, properties of waves

General knowledge of parts of speaker

Experience searching the Internet for information

Best Teaching Practices

Alignment with Standards

NGSS Standards:

Common Core Standards:

National Standards:

Ohio Standards:

Content Knowledge





Audio speakers of all types.


This lesson was designed to incorporate the Learning Cycle. Student Assessment is embedded in the four major components of the lesson. See Learning Strategies button above.

Other Considerations

Grouping Suggestions: Teams should consist of: Procurement manager Intellectual property manager (recorder) CEO (task manager) Engineer.

Pacing/Suggested Time: This less should take two (2) classroom periods or one (1) block period. The teams should consist of a Procurement Manager, an Intellectual Property Manager (recorder), a CEO (task master), and an Engineer.

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