Week Fifty-Two: Sound

1

October 22, 2015 by WittyLibrarian

Thunder tube

Program Title: Sound

Target Age Range: Tweens, grades 4th-6th

Program Length: 90 minutes

Brief Description: How does sound travel? Watch noise move salt, make your own harmonica, and more.

Supplies:

Oatmeal Containers with cardboard bottoms

Springs (recommend specs are 0.187″ OD, 0.020 wire diameter, 20″ length and type 302 stainless, per experiment source)

Palm Pipes

Slinky or big spring

Bowl

Plastic Wrap

Metal Bowl and Spoon (or something similar to make noise with)

Rubber bands

Salt

Popsicle sticks

Straws

For Advanced Preparation, you will need the following supplies:

A vice

Needle nose pliers

15 foot tape measure

Pen with a decent point

Cost: $$ 50 -100

Advanced preparation:

Prepare the springs for the thunder tubes, per the instructions on Easy, confirmed working Thunder or Spring Drum **this one REALLY works!!** by Josephine1 on Instructables.com.

WARNING: Use precaution, and prepare the spring while wearing both goggles and gloves. THe spring needs to be stretched out very long, held for over a minute in that position, and then cut in half. If the spring breaks loose from the vise (or partner’s hand) that holds it, it could snap back and cause injury.

Program Outline:

  1. Introduction to the topic of Sound
  2. Demonstration of Sound Waves
  3. Watch either Resonance Experiment! (Full Version – With Tones) or Amazing Resonance Experiment!, demonstrating the “Chladni Effect.” Show only a small portion of the video. Chladni Plates on Americanhistory.si.edu provides an excellent explanation of the Chladni Effect. 
  4. Play music on Palm Pipes
  5. Make harmonicas
  6. Make Thunder Tubes

Procedure:

salt soundwavesUsing the Slinky Waves activity from Seark Science, we demonstrated sound waves. We then followed that with the Waves of Sound experiment from Scholastic.com’s Science of Sound, using a plastic covered bowl and salt. It was interesting to see the sound waves in action, and the kids were amazed.

  • Play music on Palm Pipes

We purchased palm pipes (essentially mini-boomwhackers) and tried to have the kids play a tune as we pointed to them. They had to guess the tune. While the kids loved using the palm pipes, the demonstration itself was not very successful. Kids couldn’t guess the tune and had difficulty following when they were suppose to use their pipe. If we offered this activity again, we would tell the kids what the song was beforehand to help them as they played the palm pipes.

  • Make harmonicas

We made harmonicas out of popsicle sticks and rubber bands. They kids loved the instrument but had difficulty maniupulating the rubberbands. We used Homemade Harmonica by JTapp09 on Instructables.com, Make Some Noise! on Ncsciencefestival.org and How to Make a Harmoni-Kazoo out of Popsicle Sticks and Rubber Bands by Phil Lonsdale on Exotic-instruments.wonderhowto.com as references for this activity. 

  • Make Thunder Tubes

thunderUsing the instructions from Easy, confirmed working Thunder or Spring Drum **this one REALLY works!!** by Josephine1 on Instructables.com, we helped the kids make thunder tubes, an end product that was extremely popular. Please note: Be very careful with the springs used in this product. Warning: The springs should be prepared beforehand, and prepared with caution. Be sure to use gloves and goggles when preparing/stretching the spring, as noted in the Advanced preparation section.

Resources Used:

Easy, confirmed working Thunder or Spring Drum **this one REALLY works!!** by Josephine1 on Instructables.com

Resonance Experiment! (Full Version – With Tones) by Brusspup on Youtube.com

Amazing Resonance Experiment! by Brusspup on Youtube.com

Chladni Plates on Americanhistory.si.edu

Palm Pipes from Stevespanglerscience.com

Waves activity from Seark Science

Waves of Sound experiment from Scholastic.com’s Science of Sound

Homemade Harmonica by JTapp09 on Instructables.com

Make Some Noise! on Ncsciencefestival.org

How to Make a Harmoni-Kazoo out of Popsicle Sticks and Rubber Bands by Phil Lonsdale on Exotic-instruments.wonderhowto.com

What we would do differently:

If offering this program again, we would most likely either eliminate the Palm Pipes demonstration, or, at the very least, removing the guessing aspect of the demonstration. Otherwise, all demonstrations were well received, and the projects were well liked.

Adaptation for older/younger audience:

This program is solidly for the 4th-6th grade set, although teens might enjoy the sheer noise factor associated with making the thunder tubes.

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One thought on “Week Fifty-Two: Sound

  1. […] larger program about the science of sound, such as kazoos, drums, or guitars. Also, please see our post about the Sound program we did with 4th-6th […]

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