Auditory System - Middle and Inner Ear

Part of:

Google Expeditions
Lesson overview

In this lesson students continue their exploration of the auditory system using Google Expeditions to understand the main parts of the ear and explain what happens to sound once inside the ear. Students go on to label the ear in detail.

Learning outcomes
  • To label the structures of the middle and inner ear (apart from the semi-circular canal)

Expedition Prep Checklist

Download the Google Expeditions App on all devices and select the expedition Auditory System - The Inner Ear.

Explore the expedition and locate points of interest.

Review the video content in the Lesson resources section to update your knowledge and develop some teaching ideas.

Lesson steps
  1. Introduction (15 mins)
    Recap knowledge from the previous lesson: What is sound? What are the functions of the outer ear?
    Introduce new questions: What happens to sound once it gets inside your ear? Do you know any parts of the ear that are inside your head? What are the three main parts of the ear?
    Students label the outer ear (pinna or auricle) on the diagram (see Student Sheet, found in the Lesson resources section).
  2. Expedition (15 mins)
    Students label the following structures of the middle and inner ear: ear canal, stapes, malleus, incus (hammer, anvil and stirrup), middle ear, inner ear, eardrum (tympanic membrane), scala media, scala vestibuli, scala tympani, vestibular nerve, cochlear nerve (see Student Sheet). Students colour code the inner ear and the outer ear using highlighters.
  3. Activity one (15 mins)
    Students share their answers and labels with a partner to complete any omissions.
    Direct several students to create a human model of the ear. Name the students as: eardrum, hammer, anvil, stirrup, cochlea (hairs, two different pupils for different pitches), and cochlear nerve. Ask another pupil to sing a note and the “ear drum” pupil should start jumping to show the vibration, the others should vibrate in turn (they could be holding hands / touching shoulders to show contact). Ideally the stirrup should jump higher because the sound has been amplified. Then one of the cochlea hair pupils should high five the cochlear nerve to pass the message to the brain.
    This can be repeated with a different pitch so that the other cochlea hair pupil jumps.
  4. Activity two (15 mins)
    Students create a flow-chart to show the order that sound passes through the ear up to the cochlear nerve e.g. Pinna ➔ ear canal ➔
    Students make a model of the ossicles using plasticine, take a photo and add labels.
  5. Extension
    Students create a stop motion video to show how sound waves are passed through the ear.
    Students research some information for other lessons: What is the function of the semi-circular canal or problems / diseases of the auditory system?
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