Make a Model Eardrum to Detect Sound Waves

Make sound waves visible with an experiment that asks middle schoolers to build a model ear drum using plastic bottles, rubber bands, plastic wrap, and sand-like substances.

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CCSS: Adaptable
NGSS: Designed
Additional Tags
Instructional Ideas
  • Listen to the related segment on the world's strangest sounds and pick clips to share and discuss with the class
  • Extend the activity to include exploring frequency through a video
  • Have the class listen to some of the world's strangest sounds via audio 
Classroom Considerations
  • All materials may be found in the home
  • Needs include a smartphone or small speakers for each setup; teachers may ask students to use their own phones
  • Depending upon if you include the extension and length of discussion, activity could take from 15 minutes to one or two class periods
  • Contains written and visual instructions
  • Includes an extension to explore the frequencies of sound
  • Includes a 22-minute related audio segment on the world's strangest sounds
  • Does not include any analysis questions 
Common Core