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Informal Science

Making Musical Instruments

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Patricia Rourke Patricia Rourke 45915 Points

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

Krystal Clover Krystal Clover 455 Points

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

William Grover William Grover 6585 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

Ava Aldcroft Ava Aldcroft 595 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!

Robin Willig Robin Willig 5625 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

Pamela Dupre Pamela Dupre 92349 Points

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

Jessica Philipp Jessica Philipp 5479 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.

Elizabeth Homans Elizabeth Homans 535 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!

Juliana Texley Juliana Texley 1330 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?

Patricia Rourke Patricia Rourke 45915 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 45915 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
Pamela Dupre Pamela Dupre 92349 Points

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

Adah Stock Adah Stock 101510 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

Madison Meyers Madison Meyers 740 Points

I love all the ideas on how to incorporate music into stem! There are so many ideas branching off of the original carrot instrument and I think as an elementary education major students being able to make their own instruments and music is something that would completely grasp students attention and fascinate them. I love the idea of them being little engineerings and figuring out how to naviagte the materials into making different sounds. This is something I would love to try as an educator! 

Patricia Rourke Patricia Rourke 45915 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

Carmen Cruz Carmen Cruz 2125 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!"

Windy Smith Windy Smith 340 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

Larosa Etienne larosa etienne 1220 Points

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

Glenda Ibanez Glenda Ibanez 2655 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!

Hannah Chacon Hannah Chacon 495 Points

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

Leanna Ferreiro Leanna Ferreiro 2540 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. 

Griselda Ibarra Griselda Ibarra 975 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.

Hayley Lit Hayley Lit 585 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. 

Stephanie Ramirez Stephanie Ramirez 870 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!

Sarah Estakhri Sarah Estakhri 1400 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!

Chelsea Cook Chelsea Cook 875 Points

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

Urooj Abbasi Urooj Abbasi 715 Points

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

Kaylee Hamilton Kaylee Hamilton 200 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!

Allison Gandrup Allison Gandrup 3800 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!

Gabriela Aparicio gabriela Aparicio 855 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!

Ashley Townsend Ashley Townsend 2778 Points

This is so fun! We made guitars and kazoos with first graders last year, and I’m thinking this would be a fabulous addition to the unit! 

Nicole Falk Nicole Falk 190 Points

That's such a neat idea! I love the idea of combining subjects that you wouldn't think would go together, STEM and music. I wonder how you could adapt this idea to use materials and tools that younger kids can use. 

Julienne Buendia Julienne Buendia 535 Points

This is a great idea to integrate STEM and music! You can have a lesson on recycling and discuss materials that can be reused. Students can create instruments with recyclable items. I will incorporate this into my classroom!

Mireya Fletes Mireya Fletes 125 Points

Hi Julienne, 

Thank you for this resource. In one of my credential courses, we were talking about being resourceful and trying to make instruments using recyclables. This will be great to share with my classmates. It is engaging for all kids and affordable for the teachers. 

Hi, My name is Ricardo Diaz, I currently study Elementary Education in FIU. Your post was very useful and a fun way for students to learn about art. This activity could be very fun for students and it also works in the way that it supports the fun with information and spark their creativity. Even if the use of a carrot can be replaced with other objects, I think it is a very fun way to do it with. I have seen people teach this using other objects like sticks, bottles, and even balls. But out of all the ways i have seen people teach sound waves, this is the funnest one. I think i will be able to use this in my future classroom, i am excited to try new things and get my students to learn the material in a fun way. Thank you so much for sharing this idea!

Marla Keene Marla Keene 10 Points

Hi all.  

I love this discussion.  I wanted to add another resource to it, not about building an instrument but rather how an instrument can be like something else.  It may be something to challenge your students with: to find similarities between unexpected things.  Here's our take on it: 

Your Guitar is LIke a Nuclear Power Plant (a Just for Fun Post.) 

Juliann Brooks Juliann Brooks 1415 Points

This is amazing! I don't think I had really thought about making musical instruments as a STEM lesson! With the way we are doing specials this semseter, our music teacher had my kids make their own instruments. She does her lessons via video in our classroom instead of in the music room and the students can't use the regular instruments she typically uses. This will be a cool video to share with her. Thank you!

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