In this lab, you will learn about where sound comes from, how it travels, and what changes the loudness of a sound or the pitch of a sound. We will do this using a slinky and a rubber band guitar.
Download the labs!
- Good for most students
- Advanced version has an extra section on tuning instruments
- Sound comes from moving objects. Sound is made of vibrating molecules that push against one another.
- Molecules don’t travel across the room to get the sound to us; they vibrate in a very small space and transfer sound energy by collisions.
- The harder the molecules push each other, the louder the sound we hear.
- The faster the molecules push each other, the higher the pitch we hear.
- STUDENT ADVANCED ONLY: Sound reflects off of dense objects as an echo. In a musical instrument, reflected sound is trapped to form standing waves, which we hear as tones.
- a large plastic tub, 6 inches or deeper
- a cereal bowl
- a ping pong ball
- a pencil
- Slinkies, or one very large Slinky
- Length of rope (1/4 to 1/2 thickness, at least 6 feet long)
- Shive Wave Machine (special demo – not readily available)
- Shoebox or tissue box
- 4 to 6 rubber bands, of varying lengths and thicknesses
- Craft sticks
- plastic drinking straws, thin
- 6 plastic drinking straws, thick
- hole punch