Orchestraw Science

 - by KitchenPantryScientist

This is a simple, fun, extremely noisy experiment that will teach you a little bit about sound. All you’ll need are a straw and some scissors!

First, make a straw into a reed-like instrument by flattening one end and cutting off either side near the tip so that it looks like an arrow, but leave a small, flat area between the angled cuts (see photos.)

top view of straw instrument

side view of straw instrument

Now, put your lips around the straw, past where the point is, and blow hard. Be careful not to completely flatten the straw or air can’t go through. As the ends of the straw vibrate, they cause the air inside the column-shaped straw to vibrate, creating sound waves. The longer the column, the lower the sound, since longer sound waves sound lower! The shorter the column, the higher the sound.

Your straw instrument should sound like something between a squeaky oboe and a duck call.

Try making different length straw instruments. Can you make holes in your straw and make it sound like a recorder?

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