Sound Out Your City

Another awesome art/sensory/science/geography activity from the folks at National Geographic that I just had to share with you. It also reminds me of some of the activities recommended by Erica Wheeler in her recent webinar “How to be a Sense of Place Sleuth” (

Have you done sound mapping at your institution or school?

National Geographic Education Blog


New maps offer an interactive look at the soundscapes of 12 different cities. (Wired)

Chart your own “soundscape” and other geography adventures with Mission: Explore!

Teachers, scroll down for a quick list of key resources in our Teachers’ Toolkit.

Boston’s Emerald Necklace is apparent in this verdant soundscape. The whole of Boston looks like an “Emerald Necklace” in this verdant soundscape. Green is nature, blue is human, red is transportation, yellow is music, and grey is construction.

Discussion Ideas
Go on a “soundwalk” of your school or neighborhood. Keep notes about what you hear, and how those sounds make you feel.

  • The “Chatty Maps” cartographers divided their soundscapes into five major categories: human sounds, music sounds, nature sounds, transportation sounds, and construction sounds. Can you identify sounds in each of the categories?
    • Human: shouting, laughing, sneezing, walking?
    • Music: singing, clapping, radio or other music device?
    • Nature: birdsong, leaves rustling, waves lapping, rain pouring, dogs barking?
    • Transportation:

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