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Science Rocks!

Clapping? Where?


your results

Sent in by:
Jennifer of Phoenix, AZ

There's nothing like a round of applause!

Materials Needed

  • paper and pen for charting
  • at least 4 friends



  1. Use your ears to figure out where a sound is coming from.
  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. 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. Predict whether your hearing is better when you listen with both ears or with one ear. Now it's time to find out!
  5. The guesser closes his eyes and stands in the center of a circle of clappers.
  6. The pointer points to someone in the circle to clap.
  7. The clapper claps and the guesser points to where he thinks the sound is coming from.
  8. The pointer charts each wrong and right answer.
  9. Now do the same thing again - but this time, the guesser closes his eyes AND covers one ear.
  10. Make sure everybody gets a chance to be the guesser. Guessers get five guesses per round.
  11. 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. Whatever you find, be sure to send your results to ZOOM!

Some of your Results

Ose, age 6 of Euless, TX wrote:
my mommy did not hear it.

Brandon, age 14 of New Orleans, LA wrote:
It took veeryone almost forever to guess if they had 100% hearing but me and some of my friends that are use to having our ears partly blocked could tell where the sound was coming from better

Kelsey, age 7 of Henderson, NV wrote:
people were saying were were is the clapping coming from and every body said it

Scheela of W. Palm Beach, FL wrote:
frist clapp somwhere that nobody can here you than try to gets wher its coming from. but you have to play with 6 people. 3 has to go and clapp somewhere and the aother 3 have to try to gest where it coming from.

Alexis, age 10 of Worcester, MA wrote:
When I claped in a empty room I heard that it was louder then a room full of things.

Kaitlynn, age 13 of Boswell, PA wrote:
Well I told my teacher about it, and she let me do it. First we did it in the classrom, and then we went down to the gym. It was harder in the gym, beacuse the claps echoed, and almost everyone pointed to the wrong clapper.

Sara, age 12 of ME wrote:
When we did it most of the people got it wrong then they got it right.

Dovani, age 11 of Atlanta, GA wrote:
Well this is what happened when my family and I did Clapping? Where? We all got into a big circle. I was in the middle. My brothers and cousins clapped. Guess What?! I identified every clapper except for one! Isn't that cool!

Kelly, age 9 of Wheaton, IL wrote:
Some times it echoed and some times it didn't.

Brittney, age 12 of Port Perry, ON wrote:
With this expriment I kept pointing at the wrong person beacause my freind clapped and I pointed to my brother says my freind. This experiment is sort of a eartest cause you think the sound is coming right but it is coming from the left (or the other way around.) I thought this expriment was cool!!!

Kofi, age 8 of Bronx, NY wrote:
We had more wrong than right. It was harder when it was one ear.

Emily, age 10 of Rossburg, OH wrote:
Me and my friends did this and most of us got it right. It was harder when we went into my room because it bounced around the place.

Joe, age 6 of Long Beach, NY wrote:
When I did it it worked beter with one ear then two.

Kimberly, age 10 of Magnolia, TX wrote:
My friend and I played the game at a sleepover my friend got all except one, then I got all of them right!

Katherine of Petersburg, VA wrote:
I did it with both eyes closed, one eye closed and then I memorized all the names of the people in the room and then I went into another room and I was able to get 8 correct out of a total of 10.

Ginny, age 10 of Monterey Park, CA wrote:
I tried it with adults and kids. It turns out that the kids got more correct than the adults without covering one ear. When everybody covered one ear, the adults got more correct than the kids. It was very suprising when the results came out. I'm glad I tried it!

Emolynne, age 9 of Kapolei, HI wrote:
I did this in my after school A+ program with my sister and some of her friends. It was really funny!! It was my turn in the middle and I got most of them correct with both ears. Then, I tried with only one ear. They were laughing so hard because I got all of them wrong with one ear. Yup! Two ears are better than one.

Ngozi, age 8 of Norristown, PA wrote:
When I did it, the person was right next to me! And I didin't even guess him!!

Jovanna of Killeen, TX wrote:
Well when I tried it, it was easy because when I was in the middle of the circle somebody clapped. I knew right away that it was coming the right side of the room because, I kind of heard it echoe.

Marly, age 10 of Bonavista, NF wrote:
When me and my sister mica tookturns clapping and the other guess where it came from we found out that when we made a silent clap it was easier to know where it came from. We also tried it with stomping why don't you try.

Samantha, age 12 of Hamilton, NJ wrote:
I just wanted to tell you that clapping in certain places does make a difference. It worked the best when I did it in my dark basement.

Jenny, age 12 of Madison, MN wrote:
We were in a garage so it echoed and most of usgot it wrong.

Madison, age 10 of Mokane, MO wrote:
Some of us got them wrong. It was a cool game my friends thought. It was hard when we closed one ear but it was fun.

Joy, age 9 of Portland, OR wrote:
It was easy because we only had 4 people doing it, so it was easy to know where the clapping was coming from.

Pallavi, age 11 of Export, PA wrote:
When my friends and I tried "Clapping? Where?" we discovered that people who are right handed are better off to cover their left ear. And the people who are left handed are better off covering their right ear. We think that this is because our brain is used to doing things with our right/left hand that it works for other parts of your body.

Atanas, age 9 of Phoenix wrote:
When I did the Clapping? Where? game I played with 10 people. It wasen't that hard. Out of 10 people I got 9 right and 1 wrong.

George, age 12 of Oklahoma City, OK wrote:
I picked a clapper behind me but the person behind me was not clapping so the person in front of me was clapping. But I think the reason was that we were in a garage, What do you think happened?

Grace, age 9 of Quincy, MA wrote:
We figured out that two ears are better hearing than one ear because with one ear it can be the oppisite of what you saw.

Anjelica, age 12 of E. Hartford, CT wrote:
I had first found out that Clapping? Where? is my favorite ZOOMsci. Then I found out that you can mostly hear better with 1 ear. Because, when 1 ear is covered, you can sort of hear better when you hear in 1 spot. If both ears arnt covered, when someone claps youll be hearing in 2 differnt diretions. So its better if 1 ear is covered.

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