- wire hanger
- Tie the hook of a wire hanger to the center of a large piece of string. (About 3 feet long)
- Wrap the ends of the string around your index fingers.
- Now put your hands over the openings of your ears while holding the string.
- Lean over and swing the hanger so that it taps against a table or door. What do you hear?
Lucy’s Observations & Comments: “It sounds like a bell!” “The hanger got the noise and it went through the hanger and through the string to my ears.”
Question to Spark More Curiosity & Critical Thinking:
How did it sound? Does banging the hanger against the table sound different if you don’t put the string to your ears? How? How do you think the sound gets to your ears?
What’s Going On:
Sound waves are created by the vibration of an object (the wire hanger and string). When vibrations hit your ear drum, your brain interprets the vibrations as sound. The sound waves can travel through air, liquids and solids. When we listen to the hanger hit the table with the string to our ears, the sound waves are traveling through the solid string and hanger. Since sound waves travel more quickly through solids, we hear the sound more clearly. When we bang the hanger without putting the string to our ears, the sound waves are traveling through air to get to our ears making the sound more quiet.
Check out this awesome video showing how sound travels!
Want to go even further?
Even more activities to inspire creativity and critical thinking for various ages:
- Try varying the length of the string. Does it affect the sound you hear?
- Try attaching other objects to the string and testing them out.
- Make your own wind chime to hang outside!
- Make some homemade musical instruments.
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