Welcome to the most in-depth set of Instrument Guides publicly available, featuring members of the Philharmonia Orchestra in London. Pick the instrument from the playlist that you are most interested in, and start watching! Ready to start playing on your own? There...
Sound is everywhere. It can travel through solids, liquids, and gases, but it does so at different speeds. It can rustle through trees at 770 MPH (miles per hour), echo through the ocean at 3,270 MPH, and resonate through solid rock at 8,600 MPH.
Your voice is a vibration, and you can feel it when you place a hand on your throat when you speak. As long as there are molecules around, sound will be traveling though them by smacking into each other.
This is one of my absolute favorites, because it’s so unexpected and unusual… the setup looks quite harmless, but it makes a sound worse than scratching your nails on a chalkboard. If you can’t find the weird ingredient, just use water and you’ll get nearly the same result (it just takes more practice to get it right). Ready?
This section is actually a collection of the experiments that build on each other. We’ll be playing with sound waves, and the older students will continue on after this experiment to build speakers.
You can easily make a humming (or screaming!) balloon by inserting a small hexnut into a balloon and inflating. You can also try pennies, washers, and anything else you have that is small and semi-round. We have scads of these things at birthday time, hiding small change in some and nuts in the others so the kids pop them to get their treasures.
This is the experiment that all kids know about… if you haven’t done this one already, put it on your list of fun things to do. (See the tips & tricks at the bottom for further ideas!)
In this experiment you will be adjusting the length of string of a pendulum until you get a pendulum that has a frequency of .5 Hz, 1 Hz and 2 Hz. Remember, a Hz is one vibration (or in this case swing) per second. So .5 Hz would be half a swing per second (swing one way but not back to the start). 1 Hz would be one full swing per second.
Think of your ears as ‘sound antennas’. There’s a reason you have TWO of these – and that’s what this experiment is all about. You can use any noise maker (an electronic timer with a high pitched beep works very well), a partner, a blindfold (not necessary but more fun if you have one handy), and earplugs (or use your fingers to close the little flap over your ear – don’t stick your fingers IN your ears!).
Since we can’t see soundwaves as they move through the air, we’re going to simulate one with rope and a friend. This will let you see how a vibration can create a wave. You’ll need at least 10 feet of rope (if you have 25 or 50 feet it’s more fun), a piece of tape (colored if you have it), a slinky, and a partner. Are you ready?
Before CDs, there were these big black discs called records. Spinning between 33 and 45 times per minute on a turntable, people used to listened to music just like this for nearly a century. Edison, who had trouble hearing
Alexander Graham Bell developed the telegraph, microphone, and telephone back in the late 1800s. We’ll be talking about electromagnetism in a later unit, but we’re going to cover a few basics here so you can understand how loudspeakers transform an electrical signal into sound.
Cut a piece of tissue paper the same length as a plastic comb (make sure the comb’s teeth are close together). Fold the tissue paper in half, wrapping it around the teeth of the comb. Place it lightly between your lips and hummm… you’ll feel an odd vibrational effect on your lips as your kazoo makes a sound!
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