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Where do sounds come from?

Where do sounds come from?

Lesson narration:
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# Optional Activity: Head Harp

This simple sound experiment from San Francisco's Exploratorium lets your students experiment with sound—without making a lot of noise. Each student will need a piece of string or yarn that’s at least 3 feet (1 meter) long. Students can work on their own, but we suggest students work in pairs so they can discuss their ideas with one another.

Follow the instructions here. Encourage students to experiment to figure out how to change the sound. (They can make it higher by pulling the string tighter and lower by loosening the string.)

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# Extensions
Below are ideas for extending this topic beyond the activity & exploration you just completed.
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# Activity

If you enjoyed Head Harp and want to continue experimenting, here are two more simple sound experiments from San Francisco's Exploratorium.

  • Secret Bells makes sounds only you can hear! You'll need string, scissors, and an unpainted wire clothes hanger.

  • Set your classroom buzzing with Bee Hummer, a simple instrument that sounds like a swarm of bees.

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Lesson narration:

Activity Prep

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In this Read-Along lesson, Lin explores the sounds made by different kinds of instruments, and discovers what happens when vibrations start—and when they stop. The lesson includes a short exercise where students experiment with a piece of paper to make the connection between vibrations and sound. You can extend the lesson with the optional activity, Head Harp, where students make simple musical instruments using only their heads and string.

Preview optional activity
COVID-19 Adaptations
Students can work solo

Students at home
Each student needs 3 feet of string or yarn.

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