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Take one cardboard tube and teach vibration

N is obsessed with boxes as you may have seen from various photos on this blog over time.   But he’s got quite partial to junk modelling as well.  I don’t get many drawings home from school, but I get a lot of junk models….mostly just boxes stuck on top of each other.

But the other week we had a more interesting play session making the most of some cardboard tubes we had.  It turned into a session on science and vibration.  From something as simple as a kitchen roll tube.

learning about vibration through upcycling cardboard tubes - Bubbablue and me

N does tend to squirrel away  tubes – whether it’s as a shield and hideaway for his beating stick (not beating him, I hasten to add, but beating for shooting that someone gave him), or just using as a trumpet.  So there were plenty around the house, although on this occasion the kitchen roll was on hand.

N had finished doing his phonics worksheet, leaving the table in a mess, and started blowing down the tube, before trying to suction it to his face.  Obviously impossible, but I decided to blow a raspberry down the other end to see what he did.

being a pirate with a cardboard tube

Well, he just laughed, and I was told to do it again and again.

So I did different sounds and different strengths.

Then asked him what it felt like.

I compared it to the way the voice works with vibrations that make the sounds we make and how we can change the type of sound by changing the shape of our mouth, the spend the pitch etc.  He’d had a bit of an introduction to vibration, the voice and music at the last cushion concert we went to, so he did understand quite a bit of what we were talking about.

Then we tried a couple of other sized tubes, and a piece of rolled up paper.  N had a go as well, with and without doing it on skin.  He was more interested in getting me to do it for him though.

mucking around with cardboard tubes

It turned out to not only be an entertaining 15-20 minutes, but also a great opportunity to talk about vibrations and sound.

And all it takes is a person and a cardboard tube.  Cheap and easy.

What everyday objects or junk have you used to play and teach science or music?

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