Making Music

In the newest Making Music Challenge, students explore sound and vibrations. Students learn how the human eardrum works and explore concepts such as pitch and longitudinal and transverse waves. They collect information through hand on lessons and engineer a musical instrument according to specific criteria. A student reader brings the concepts to life for the students through a fictional story about animals and sounds within nature.

Making Music is the newest in the AWIM Primary Suite.

Our five Primary challenges are unique as they not only allow primary age students to experience STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) but they also all have a literature component piece that introduces the activity to students.

Each of these hands- on units can be taught over a one to two-week period. The challenge gives young students many opportunities to explore a toy that they construct and to develop an understanding of what it means to conduct a fair test.

A unique feature of this program is the use of portions of a problem-solving process employed by engineers working in teams.

The "Engineering Design Experience" for Primary students consists of: Set Goals, Build Knowledge, Design, Build and Test and Present.

SAE International offers two levels of this kit: Complete and Partial. (See the Kit Materials tab for information)

Each kit is enough materials for a class size of 24 students with students working in design teams of 4 in a group.

Lesson Plan Overview

Lesson 1 - Why Do We Hear Sounds?
Students explore sounds and what happens when a sound is made. They list what they already know and what they want to know about sound, which they will revisit over the course of the unit. They use tuning forks and observe wat happens when they are struck.

Lesson 2 - Drumming On My Ear
Students learn more about the form that sound waves take and how humans hear sound. They build a model of a human eardrum and see how the model eardrum reacts to sounds.

Lesson 3 - Making Music
Students are introduced to a variety of musical instruments. Students examine the instruments to see the differences in the various parts to determine why they might make different sounds. They explore the features of their team’s instrument and describe why they think it can make different sounds.

Lesson 4 - Stringing It Along
In this activity, students explore how aspects of a string affect the sound made when the string is plucked. They then share the results of their research with other teams.

Lesson 5 - Make It Louder
In this activity, students examine the example instrument to see the different types of materials used to construct the bodies. They experiment with different materials to see how they affect the volume of the sound produced by a tuning fork.

Lesson 6 - Build Your Instrument
In this activity, students will build an instrument to meet EarthToy Designs’ specifications using knowledge that they’ve gained over the course of the unit. In teams, students discuss how they will design their instruments and build some prototype instruments to test. Based on their tests, students build their instruments.

Lesson 7 - The Instrument Orchestra
In the previous session, students had the opportunity to create an instrument that met the EarthToy Designs specifications. In this session, students present their musical instruments to the rest of the class and show how they meet the specifications.

Kit Materials

Item Complete   Consumables
Teacher Manual on CD 1  
Student Reader  1  
Student Science Journal 24 24
Tuning fork set 1  
Tuning fork mallet 6  
Anyware bowl (24 oz.)  6  
Plastic wrap 1 roll 1 roll
Rubber bands (large) 1 bag  
Rice 1 bag 1 bag
Metal Slinky 6  
Instruments 1 box  
Poster of stringed instruments 1  
Geoboard with rubberbands 12  
Styrofoam cup 2 2
Wood block 6  
Styrofoam block 6  
Plastic block   24  
Digital sound meter 6  
Yarn 1 skein 1 skein
Craft string 1 roll 1 roll
Popsicle sticks 1 box 1 box
Bells 2 bags 2 bags
Balloons 2 bags 2 bags
Aluminum pie plate 6 6
Rubberbands (assorted sizes) 1 bag 1 bag
Paper plates 1 pack 1 pack
Jumbo paper clips 1 box 1 box
Human ear display 1  



Sample Lesson Plan

Tradebooks to Introduce STEM