Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Spoon Bell Experiment

So this morning I discovered Janice VanCleave’s blog, Science Project Ideas for Kids.

Now you know how excited I am about that.

The first experiment that drew my eyes was Sound: Spoon Bell.

My children are crazy about homemade telephones, you may remember, so I thought this would be a good one.

We punched small holes in two plastic cups, grabbed the kite string and a couple of screws, and made the telephone. In the center between the two cups, we wrapped a table spoon.

I put the cups tightly to my ears, leaned forward, and had Trevelyn bang on the hanging spoon with another.

It really does sound like a loud chime! Similar to a church bell or a town clock.

When we were tugging on the cups (in opposite directions) we discovered that the screws would vibrate, making a loud ringing sound of their own!


Trev and I wondered if the same thing would happen with a different material, or if the metal was the conductor of that interesting sound.

So we replaced our screws with wooden Cuisenaire rods.

There was no bonging when we tugged against eachother, but we did discover that when we plucked the string, we could get guitar noises.


We of course set out to see how we could affect the notes – closer to the ear was the sharpest noise, while the lower tones could be had when we let a slight bit of slack in the string.

Very cool again.

We have a guitar, and so we are somewhat familiar with this, but still, our discoveries were unexpected… and exactly what Discovering is about, no?

Of course Madeleine showed herself eventually, and wanted to know what we were up to

and then had to conduct a few musical experiments of her own….

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