Bouncy Balls: A Fun Way To Monitor Classroom Noise Level

This is what Bouncy Balls looks like when the classroom is silent:

This is what Bouncy Balls looks like when the classroom is noisy:

Essentially, Bouncy Balls is a website that activates your microphone and detects noise level. The more noise in the room, the more the balls bounce. The quieter the room is, the more still the balls remain. Although this tool has a number of applications outside of classroom management, I thought it was a fun, engaging way to monitor noise levels. Ask students to try to keep the balls as still as possible during class, and maybe reward them by allowing them to sing and be noisy on their way out of class 🙂

72 thoughts on “Bouncy Balls: A Fun Way To Monitor Classroom Noise Level

  1. I love this tool! My middle schoolers tend to get noisy (especially my afternoon classes) so this fun visual would be a stellar way to keep them in check. Thanks for sharing!

  2. I’m having trouble…can you help? When I go to the website, and click “Get Bouncing!”, I get a black page with no balls. Any ideas on what I’m doing wrong?

    1. Hi Nicole, I’m sorry to hear that is happening. It is probably because you don’t have the latest version of Flash or because of the browser you are using. Try switching to a different browser?

  3. When I click on the microphone all the balls bounce but I don’t know how to set it to monitor the classroom noise.

  4. I would love to use this resource in my classroom, but I’m concerned that I have to allow microphone access for it to work. Is this a privacy issue?

    1. Good question Mary! The microphone access essentially means allowing the program to hear you. Without the microphone access, the program wouldn’t be able to gauge classroom noise. Once you exit the website, the program no longer has access to your microphone – so it isn’t a privacy issue 🙂

      1. Yes, but while it’s on is there a place that our conversations are being recorded or saved in some way?

      2. No, the conversations are not recorded or saved. It simply uses the microphone in order to gauge noise level.

  5. This sounds like a great idea, but unfortunately the website is blocked in my district. Is there anything else like this, or is there a way to download it and run it without going to the website?

    1. Unfortunately, I don’t think you can download it. Maybe you could check with your admin and see if they could unlock the site? Or you could try loading it outside of school and then playing it when you get there.

    1. Hi Sarabeth. The website is linked in the post above – just click to access Bouncy Balls. Unfortunately if you are asking whether you can download the program, unfortunately that’s not possible.

  6. The microphone on my desktop doesn’t seem to be working. What the best type of microphone to purchase? All the microphones I’ve seen say “noise cancelling”. That’s not what I need is it?

    1. There is a microphone button on the top left corner when you launch the application. Make sure you click on it and press “allow” to activate the microphone!

    1. There is a microphone button on the top left corner when you launch the application. Make sure you click on it and press “allow” to activate the microphone!

      1. Thanks but mine is still not working. Not just mine… none of the teachers at my school who’ve tried have had any success. It’s such a great idea and I’m disappointed it won’t work for us!

  7. This is great! I can’t wait to use it. Is there any way to adjust the noise threshold at which the balls bounce?

  8. I think this is a great idea in theory, however, having tried something similar before with a very loud special needs student, I know from experience that he would shout more just to see the balls bounce. That’s a lot more fun to see than the balls just sitting there!

    1. Great point, Allison. Maybe, in your case, it could be used as a reward after students exhibit a certain amount of quiet, work time?

    1. Paul,
      I love your Bouncy Balls website! However, I can not get it to work! The balls only bounce when I click on them with the mouse. I teach kindergarten and would love to use this with our sound unit and much, much more! The other posts said there was a microphone in the top left corner but I am not seeing that, all I see is an “N” with a circle (which I assume is your logo and it takes me to your other sites). I have checked my system settings and everything should be fine with my Mac. Please help! :o) Thanks you so much!

      1. Hi Amanda. The microphone option doesn’t work in Safari, unfortunately. It only works in Google Chrome or Firefox. So if you can use either of those browsers, it should work for you.

      2. It worked!!! Thank you so much! It works perfectly in Firefox. My kindergarteners will love this! Thanks again for getting back to me so quickly. :o)

  9. Hello! My coworker and I have been trying to get this to work – this is genius by the way – as we teach first grade. I have an external microphone, followed all of the steps to set it up and tested it and it works. I have also checked my computer’s settings and had the tech guy in to check and he couldn’t figure it out. I have also followed the other posts to try and troubleshoot and opened the website in Firefox as you suggested. It is still not working. I see a microphone in the upper right hand corner but when I click on it, it doesn’t do anything. Any ideas are appreciated! Thanks so much!

    1. Hi Dana. All I can recommend is that you make sure of a few things. First, make sure you’re using the latest version of Google Chrome or Firefox, and update it if it’s out of date. Second, after you click the microphone in the upper right, you should see a menu come down from the top of the browser. Here you need to allow permission before the microphone can be accessed. If you don’t see this menu appear, try restarting your computer, as that usually helps. Finally, if you do see the menu and do allow access, you need to check you’ve selected the right microphone. In Chrome, click the white camera icon that appears in the white address bar, and select the appropriate microphone. In Firefox, the icon is green and on the left side of the address bar.

      Hope that helps!

      1. Thanks so much!! I will try all of that and see if that gets it started. Thanks again for your time!

  10. Hi there,
    I have used this in the classroom, my behaviour students have difficulty. If the balls could stop moving when they are loud and move when they are quiet. It could be a challenge to see how quiet they can make it. Just a thought or it could be a reward timer, when there is no sound the stopwatch could go up. This could equal how much reward time they get.

  11. I just updated to Firefox 30.0. I no longer have the microphone in the upper right hand corner. There doesn’t seem to be a way to set up input of sound. Everything was fine in the older version of Firefox. Any suggestions? Thanks.

  12. I love this activity. I have used it for a few years with k -grade 6, it has always worked well. Now I can’t get the microphone to work. The line across it won’t go away. Any suggestions?

  13. I’ve used this for years and love it! But now the microphone has a line through it and it won’t work. It usually asks permission to use and it’s not

    1. Hi Sylvia – firstly, I’d recommend using Google Chrome. When you click the microphone icon, if the line doesn’t go away, the microphone hasn’t been activated. You could try restarting your computer as there may be a problem with the mic, and restarting sometimes helps kick it back into life!

  14. My Logitech microphone works on my computer but it will not work with Bouncy Balls. I have tried with Internet Explorer and Chrome. I do not see a button on the upper left corner to enable the microphone. Can you help? I would love this for my class.

  15. No trouble to get it to work but surely it is the wrong way round – the quieter it is the more they should bounce?

  16. Good morning,
    I love this website. I am able to use it with Google Chrome and access the microphone. However, after the balls pick up noise and begin to bounce they all move over to the right side of the screen and line up vertically. Has anyone else ever experienced this? If so, how do I fix it?


    1. That is a strange problem! Maybe check that you are using the latest version of Google Chrome – which is currently version 43.

  17. I’m using the latest version of firefox but the internal microphone isn’t picking up noise. And there is LOTS of noise! I have to be speaking right into the internal mic for it to detect anything. And even then the balls barely move. Is there an external microphone I could use to pick up sound in my classroom?

    1. Hi Christy. You could try adjusting the ‘bounciness’ setting on the right. This makes the balls more sensitive to noise. Otherwise yes, you could try attaching an external microphone and use that as the noise source. You can select which microphone you want to use from the settings menus in Firefox.

  18. I tried it today on Google Chrome at school and it just has a microphone in the upper right hand corner with a line through it. How can I get it to work? Thanks!

    1. Click that microphone icon then allow access to the microphone when prompted – usually a small window pops up on the left of the screen. If you don’t see this, your microphone may not be compatible unfortunately.

  19. I have been trying to use Bouncy Balls in Google Chrome. The microphone is working, but as soon as the balls pick up noise they all move from the bottom of the screen along the right side of the screen. Has anyone else experienced this? Any thoughts on how to fix it?

  20. Will this work with an iPad and then shown on a smart tv if the iPad is paired with the tv?

  21. I have windows 10 and can’t get the mic to work. I have my laptop on a docking station and when I took it off I finally got the mic to work. Put it back on the docking station and it worked. Closed out bouncy balls and now I can’t get the mic to work now.

  22. Hi there! I started using this resource yesterday and it worked really well. I’ve opened it up again today and it looks the same but the sensitivity option is no longer there…how can I access that again?

    1. I’ve just updated it so the sensitivity option stays on screen even if the screen size is very small. Hope that helps.

  23. If the “noise alert” option is checked, will it just leave a written message at the top (i.e. “Too Noisy”), or will a sound actually be produced to notify the students it is too noisy without them having to watch the screen?

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