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Hoodie be gone

  • Key Stage 3
  • GCSE
  • Popular Activity
  • Topical

Type: Activity
Learning Strategy: Role play
Topic: Sound

With teenagers being told to put down their 'hoodies' when entering shopping complexes and the general public becoming increasingly aware of the 'ASBO' generation, Howard Stapleton has just won an award to put everyone's minds at rest. His Ig Nobel Prize winning research consists of an electromechanical teenager deterrent, the 'Mosquito', which works by producing an annoying sound only audible to youngsters. Students will no doubt shout, 'that's out of order!'….but wait 'til they find out that some teenagers are using the same technology to produce ringtones and mobile message alerts that their teachers and parents can't hear…

11-16 How Science Works:
• 4a: learn about the use of contemporary scientific and technological developments and their benefits, drawbacks and risks
• 4b: consider how and why decisions about science and technology are made, including those that raise ethical issues, and about the social, economic and environmental effects of such decisions

Published: 25th October 2006
Reviews & Comments: 10

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Learning objectives

Students will learn:
• to apply different ethical approaches to making a decision about a scientific advance
• how biological phenomena can be exploited for use in society
• about the structures of the ear and how sound and pitch is perceived

Try the activity

You will need Acrobat Reader installed to open the activity sheets.

11 – 14 Sound and hearing (KS3 QCA module 8L)
• to use appropriate scientific language to describe features of a sound wave
• that sounds with high pitch have a high frequency
• different people can hear different ranges of pitch
• that hearing changes with age
• that some animals detect sounds that are inaudible to human ears

14 – 16 How science works
• 4a: learn about the use of contemporary scientific and technological developments and their benefits, drawbacks and risks
• 4b: consider how and why decisions about science and technology are made, including those that raise ethical issues, and about the social, economic and environmental effects of such decisions

14 – 16 Sense organs and the nervous system

GCSE specifications
AQA 11.1 Human Biology
• the nervous system enables humans to react to their surroundings and coordinate their behaviour
• receptors detect stimuli which include light, sound, changes in position, chemicals, touch, pressure, pain and temperature
• information from receptors passes along cells (neurones) in nerves to the brain. The brain coordinates the response

Edexcel Biology 1b Topic 3
• recall that the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) is linked to sense organs by nerves
• understand that stimulation of receptors in the sense organs sends electrical impulses along nerves
OCR Gateway core Module B1 Understanding ourselves
Item B1d – keeping in touch
• State that the nerve impulse is mainly electrical and is carried by nerve cells called neurones

OCR Twenty first century additional Module B6.2
• Recall that neurons transmit electrical impulses when stimulated

Running the activity

Display page 1, and ask students what they think of Mosquito. Did they know that different people can hear different ranges of pitch? Briefly introduce the task: to plan for – and take part in – a radio programme about whether banning Mosquito is ethically acceptable. You might also like to mention at this stage that different animals have different hearing ranges – see the web links below for examples.

Display page 2, and ask the students which bits of the ear they can name and if they can describe their functions. Ask them what they know about pitch and frequency. If appropriate, emphasise the information related to the nervous system.

Divide the class into 10 groups of approximately 3 students. Give each group a set of cards made from page 3 and a photocopy of page 4. Ask the students to place each card in a box on page 4, according to which ethical viewpoint it most closely matches. To help less able students, the cards are colour coded: purple = the greatest good for the greatest number; blue = rights; orange = virtue; turquoise = individual-centred.

Then give each group one small role play card cut from page 5. This tells them their role in one of two radio interviews: on Radio Oldie or Radio Hoodie.

Next give a copy of page 6 to the 8 interviewee groups and a copy of page 7 to the 2 interviewer groups. Ask each group to complete the planning sheet to prepare for the interview. Tell the interviewee groups to choose arguments based on the ethical approach given on their role card – if they wish, they can elaborate on one or more of the argument cards placed in the appropriate box on page 4. Tell the interviewer groups to think of appropriate questions to ask each of their interviewees – at this stage, of course, they will not know the ethical approaches of these people.

When the groups are ready, run the radio interviews – either one after the other or both at the same time.

Finally, ask students to come out of role and reflect on the activity. How useful were the different ethical approaches in helping to make decisions about whether or not to ban Mosquito? Can they think of other scientific or technological developments in which a similar ethical framework might be useful?

News links

Compound security
Information about Mosquito from the company that makes it
Compound security - the prize
More about the prize for Mosquito, and why they won it
Improbable research
Background information on the ig nobel prize
Improbable research
Other pesky sounds - like the screech of nails on a blackboard
Channel 4
Information about a device invented to startle deer away from a busy road

Reviews & Comments

Write your online review to share your feedback and classroom tips with other teachers. How well does it work, how engaging is it, how did you use it, and how could it be improved?


Sep 2nd, 2012

4 Star

since we have a hoodie culture here this went down really well.

Reviewer: brenda goodwill

Hoodie be gone

Jul 6th, 2010

4 Star

I agree with a previous reviewer about choosing your groups carefully. I tried this activity with two year 10 groups of differing academic ability. Both groups had performing arts students in them, so the rest of the group did were ok about being outside their comfort zones. I started off the lesson with a radio interview I'd found on the subject - it really helped the students to focus when it came to their turn to do the main task. I will definitely do this activity again

Reviewer: Jo Christopher

Hoodie be gone review

Feb 19th, 2010

4 Star

If you choose groups carefully and ensure they have had some experience of independent work and presentation it works very well. They enjoyed 'hosting' a radio show and using video can be a good way to show the rest of the class the 'other broadcast'n asked to come up with alternative solutions for HWK and this proved a good follow up activity
Students were the

Reviewer: sharon crowe


Oct 13th, 2009

5 Star

Excellent for getting the kids talking and thinking about Science and the problems that are casued by young people. I had bottom set pupils and they got very involved and produced some very good arguments for and against the equipment, passed this onto another teacher who put a different slant on it, again a fantatic lesson with good dialogue between children

Reviewer: Paul Prince

hoodie be gone

Aug 28th, 2008

4 Star

Used it to introduce the section on the ear in our biology topic. The class was a group of 15yr old girls who were engaged from the start about the use of technology to drive young people away from shopping centres etc. This is a social problem in Australia also; the role play encourages directed research by all the students rather than just a few.
Lyn Lowcock,
Matthew Fli nders Girls S.C
Geelong Australia

Reviewer: Lyn Lowcock


May 7th, 2008

5 Star

The kids loved it and found it very interesting! They've also been applying the theory in the class room.

Reviewer: Charlene Gayle

Hoodie Be Gone!

Jul 7th, 2007

5 Star

A really good activity.

I used it over two lessons with 4 different KS3 groups - 2 year 8 and 2 year 9.

During the first lesson we recapped the science behind it all. I also managed to get hold of the publicity DVD from Compound Security - I just requested it from - which is made up of several tv clips showing explanations of the mosquito, including some from the Gaget Show, Richard & Judy and CNN News. After watching some of the clips the students were already very keen to express their opinions on whether it was a good idea, or a 'fair' device. Towards the end of the lesson the students looked at the different ethical view points and started to plan their interview performance.

In the second lesson they performed the 'radio interviews' to a live studio audience. This was helped with some simple props for each character, and careful selection of the interviewers so that they wouldn't accept one word answers. To end the lesson the students wrote a letter to their local MP to explain what they thought of the device, and whether it should be used. Even lower ability students were able to articulate reasons for their opinion about the mosquito, and some of the higher ability students produced letters that even I would have been pleased to write.

And more importantly.... the kids really loved it and found it interesting and relevent!

Thanks Upd8!

Reviewer: Catherine Parmiter

Hoodie be gone

Jul 2nd, 2007

5 Star

A really useful activity that is easy to understand and deliver.

I will use this to train teachers on how to incorportate Learning Skills for Science into How Science Works (3 and 4). Good stimulus material for argumentation.

Cecilia Ellis-Sackey
Science Consultant

Reviewer: Cecilia Ellis-Sackey

Hoodie be gone!

May 18th, 2007

5 Star

Very topical here in York where some convenience stores have installed mosquitoes, and the subject has been well covered in local media.

This gave instant responses from many students.

Great fun and well worth doing.

Reviewer: Stephen Brian

Hoodies be gone

Nov 7th, 2006

5 Star

The activities are fun and motivating, can't wait to try them out with my students.

Reviewer: cristina vidot