Informal Science

Making Musical Instruments

Making music and the instruments with which to make it is always a 'carrot' to learning about sound, waves,, open and closed pipes, and a bit of engineering. Using straws and bottles to make creative bands often is part of traditional activities - many of which may be pointed toward STEM activities. Well, I came across this neat idea from Sydney Australia on making music by blowing carrots. That's all I am going to say. Take a peek and adapt the idea for a potentially messy but very interesting activity that contains the potential for 'sound' science- yes-take that two ways:} http://www.youtube.com/embed/BISrGwN-yH4 Here's the video. A url that gives directions is verbally identified in the presentation. ~patty

Patricia Rourke
Patricia Rourke
45895 Activity Points

Thank you for this resource! I am doing a project on teaching sound waves, and this is great!

Krystal Clover
Krystal Clover
455 Activity Points

Thank you for the post. I like the way you are relating a science concept to another discipline in a fun way. Students relate much better to this type of cross discipline activity and I will use this in my classroom. Thanks again, Mike

William Grover
William Grover
6585 Activity Points

This is totally awesome. I know that I am going to incorporate music into my classroom. I know how to play piano. This is such a great and fun way to include music in the classroom. I think the kids would love it! Thank you for sharing!

Ava Aldcroft
Ava Aldcroft
595 Activity Points

This video is fantastic. I shared this with our music teachers. One of the teacher actually has a project where the children make instruments out of recycled materials. Thank you!! Robin

Robin Willig
Robin Willig
5625 Activity Points

Wow! That was the epitome of creativity! I must try this or something along those lines.

Pamela Dupre
Pamela Dupre
87174 Activity Points

Thank you for sharing this post. I have a science unit that  I do with my preschoolers, kitchen band, which is experimenting with sounds found in the kitchen.  Never thought of using a carrot to make an instrument.  It's intriguing to notice that you can make musical instruments out of almost anything.  Thanks again for sharing.

Jessica Philipp
Jessica Philipp
5479 Activity Points

Oh my goodness this is so cool! I can't believe how good it sounds! I love the idea of having students make their own instruments. This is a great way to integrate the STEM fields. I might use this in the future. Thank you!

Elizabeth Homans
Elizabeth Homans
535 Activity Points

I saw a news clip on a teacher workshop making guitars. What a wonderful skill! Trying to track it back. I'm also looking for "the science of Blues music" for Chicago! Anyone have a source?

Juliana Texley
Juliana Texley
1330 Activity Points

Hi Juliana, Welcome to this thread. Building string instruments with various threads, elastic bands, strings, along with cardboard boxes and gourds has long been a phun scientific endeavor. Thanks for pointing this discussion along this path. patty

Patricia Rourke
Patricia Rourke
45895 Activity Points

I thought that I would look through the resources on music and science and see what may be applicable to teachers building lessons with music and instruments that enhance a STEM or STEAM environment. They are not vegetables, but surely of interest:} patty


Musical Instruments & STEM or STEAM Collection
(10 items)
Cheep, Chirp, Twitter, & Whistle
     -Journal Article
Pressure, Pressure Everywhere: Using raps and hands-on activities to teach about air pressure
     -Journal Article
Teaching Inquiry Skills Using Rainsticks
     -Journal Article

Patricia Rourke
Patricia Rourke
45895 Activity Points

We've made rainsticks in the past and the children are absolutely fascinated by them! Thanks for posting those links!

Pamela Dupre
Pamela Dupre
87174 Activity Points

Hi All: After reading this post and remembering my days of teaching middle school I was wondering if anyone has build musical instruments from junk. A 60 minutes report covered a city in South America that created new instruments from trash. Here are some interesting websites for future thought: http://www.thejunkorchestra.co.uk/wordpress/instrument-building-guidelines/ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=he215SLuOLI http://makingmulticulturalmusic.wordpress.com/2012/04/10/14-world-music-instruments-that-can-be-made-from-recycled-materials/ Adah

Adah Stock
Adah Stock
101490 Activity Points

Hi Adah, Now that you refreshed this thread with that information, I recall how wonderful the instruments were and how exciting it could be to build science lessons around the instruments. Thanks a bunch, ~patty

Patricia Rourke
Patricia Rourke
45895 Activity Points

As a STEAM informal educator, we created an entire sound unit using simple materials such as two straws- making straw flutes, straws and snow cone cups that make straw oboes, plastic bottles to recreate a horn sound, craft sticks and rubber bands to make harmonicas, etc. The one comment I continuously heard from students was- "whoever said you needed money to create a sound instrument!"

Carmen Cruz
Carmen Cruz
2125 Activity Points

That is very interesting to make music out of vegetables and can be used as an integrated lesson plan because in africa they use gourds for instruments. Also, this would be a good lab to connect with a garden project. There are many ways to work this concept into language arts and writing as well. Thanks for the resource! Windy Smith

Windy Smith
Windy Smith
340 Activity Points

I thought that was interesting too! Who would have thought, vegetables!!

Larosa Etienne
larosa etienne
1220 Activity Points

WHAT!? WOW!! Saw the video and it blew my mind. I always enjoy when I see people making instrument out of house hold appliances; but I've never heard of fruit or vegetable instruments. What made it incredible is the sound that came out of the carrot. Thank you for the great resource!

Glenda Ibanez
Glenda Ibanez
2655 Activity Points

That's awesome! Thanks for sharing. Engineering is everywhere!

Hannah Chacon
Hannah Chacon
495 Activity Points

Hi,  My name is Leanna Ferreiro. I am an Elementary Education major. I think this is a great way to have students learn about sound. This activity is fun and interactive. The use of a carrot may be messy but I think in the long run it will be well worth it. It seems like an activity that students would enjoy and take meaningful information from. There are many traditional actives that one can use to teach students about sound and sound waves like bottles, but I believe this activity goes above and beyond. It will keep students guessing and wondering how this will work. I will be sure to try and incorporate an activity like this one in my future classroom. I appreciate the great ideas to help teach students in science about sound. 

Leanna Ferreiro
Leanna Ferreiro
2540 Activity Points

Thanks for this post. I feel like I have been introduced to whole new world. I cant wait to try it with my future students.

Griselda Ibarra
Griselda Ibarra
975 Activity Points

Wow thank you for the post! This is a very interesting and fun way for children to learn about sound and the different things that affect it. It is also a very good way for students to be creative and play with the things that they have created. I feel that students would be very excited to participate in this activity. 

Hayley Lit
Hayley Lit
585 Activity Points

This is so awesome! I am a student teacher so resources like this are super helpful. Thank you for sharing this link. I will definitely keep it in mind for the future!

Stephanie Ramirez
Stephanie Ramirez
870 Activity Points

I love this resource! I play the violin, so I like the idea of using a lot of musical elements to supplement learning. This could be a great science lesson about sound and vibrations. Thank you very much!

Sarah Estakhri
Sarah Estakhri
1400 Activity Points

I think this a great way to engage students! I would've loved to do this lesson as a student in school.

Chelsea Cook
Chelsea Cook
875 Activity Points

I love the concept of this! Great suggestion, thank you! I would definitely want to incorporate this in my lesson in the future.

Urooj Abbasi
Urooj Abbasi
715 Activity Points

Thank you for sharing this awesome idea! It’s such a fun way to teach about sound and music. I look forward to incorporating it into my classroom!

Kaylee Hamilton
Kaylee Hamilton
200 Activity Points

This is super cool. I have actually made musical instruments out of materials like this before, but this gave me new ideas! Thanks for posting!

Allison Gandrup
Allison Gandrup
3790 Activity Points

Very fun and creative way to make a musical instrument. Would have never thought of making a musical instrument out of a carrot. Kids will probably get inspired to create their own out of other materials. Enjoyed watching the video!

Gabriela Aparicio
gabriela Aparicio
705 Activity Points

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