Boston Children's Museum
308 Congress Street, Boston, MA 02210
Some concepts can be tougher for children to grasp if they just read or hear about them. When children are engaged in learning by using their own bodies as tools, not only can some concepts be more readily understood, but kids can better get to know their own physiology as well. Sound, waves and vibrations are some of the concepts children will experiment with in this activity.
Cut the string into 5-foot pieces, 1 piece for each team.
Ask if anyone in the class has ever played with a guitar before. How do you make a guitar make sounds? If you have access to a guitar, you might use it to demonstrate. Have them take a close look at a string after you pluck it. Do they notice anything? They should see that it is vibrating very rapidly. Tell them that they are going to play with vibration but instead of using a guitar—they’re going to use their heads!
Can you play your head like a guitar?
After each team has played a little, call them together to talk about their experience. What did they hear? Did they pluck the string in different places? Did they try rubbing it? Did that sound different?
Have your students experiment a little more after hearing from the other teams. Are there different ways of plucking or rubbing the string that makes different sounds? Does it matter where the string is on their head or how tight or loose it is?