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Do-Re-Mi with Straws

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by Teisha Rowland, PhD
Active Time
10-20 minutes
Total Project Time
10-20 minutes
Key Concepts
music, physics, sound waves, frequency, pitch, note
Different straws cut to different lengths

Introduction

Have you ever wondered how a musical instrument produces the beautiful sounds that it does? To make a certain note, the instrument has to make a certain sound wave. Depending on the instrument, the sound wave that is made can be affected by changing the length of part of the instrument, such as the strings in a piano or on a guitar, or a trombone’s air column. In this science activity, you will make your own musical instruments using drinking straws and explore how changing the length of the straws changes the notes that they produce.

Credits

Teisha Rowland, PhD, Science Buddies
This activity is not appropriate for use as a science fair project. Good science fair projects have a stronger focus on controlling variables, taking accurate measurements, and analyzing data. To find a science fair project that is just right for you, browse our library of over 1,150 Science Fair Project Ideas or use the Topic Selection Wizard to get a personalized project recommendation.

Materials

  • Plastic or paper drinking straws (at least 2)
  • Scissors
  • Optional: Piano, electronic keyboard, or other musical instrument that can produce a scale of notes
    Materials for making musical straws
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Active Time
10-20 minutes
Total Project Time
10-20 minutes
Key Concepts
music, physics, sound waves, frequency, pitch, note