Available as part of the Everyday Stuff STEAM Workshops Bundle, which includes:
|Start / End Dates||Now through Dec 31, 2021|
|Instrument Science||$10 per household|
|Everyday Stuff STEAM Bundle||$50 per household|
|Access through Dec 31, 2021|
Musical Inventions: Make Instruments with Science
In this one-session workshop, students will learn the science behind sound and music by making their own!
We’ll create instruments out of drinking straws, string and paper cups, and other common materials and discover how they work. Projects include:
- Straw Oboe: Make a double-reed instrument that shows why the length of an instrument is connected to the notes that it can play.
- Mini String Bass: This table-top version of a washtub bass lets you see and feel how instruments vibrate to create sound, and how to control notes with tension.
- Paper Popper: Turn a sheet of paper into a noise-maker (just like the old-timey schoolroom distraction) to prove that sound travels on waves of air molecules.
About 60 minutes, including an 18-minute video.
Each short project takes about 15 minutes to complete and includes suggestions for further exploration.
What to Expect
This self-paced workshop includes:
- an 18-minute video that explains the projects and demonstrates how to make them;
- written and printable instructions;
- links to more online resources.
Cutting, folding, tying knots, and measuring.
- Students will learn to look for the math and science implications of everyday objects.
- Students will be introduced to the idea of using simple materials to create working models.
- Students will use engineering design skills like prototyping, testing, trouble-shooting, and iteration as they build, improve, and enhance their projects.
In addition to the items below, I highly recommend my book Musical Inventions. It contains the projects featured in this workshop and many more, from a cookie tin steel drum to an electronic instrument made from a musical greeting card!
plastic drinking straw
Mini String Bass:
disposable cup (foam or paper)
piece of lightweight paper, like notebook paper
(optional) ruler or straight-edge
Kathy Ceceri, B.A.
Kathy Ceceri is an award-winning writer and educator, and the author of more than a dozen books of hands-on STEAM activities for kids and teens. Formerly the Homeschooling Expert at About.com (now ThoughtCo), she wrote the Hands-On Learning column for Home Education magazine and taught her own two children at home from kindergarten until college.
Kathy’s workshops and activities are designed with the non-expert in mind. They introduce basic concepts in science and technology, and give students the skills and information they need to troubleshoot their projects and build upon what they’ve learned. Additional background material and resources look at the diverse people behind the inventions and put them into context in the larger society.