Sound Science: 4 Audio Project Ideas For STEM Educators

01.30.15

Attention all STEM teachers — are you looking for ways to incorporate music and sound into your classroom?Check out these hands-on DIY ideas from Youth Radio’s Brains and Beakers science speaker series. Explore creative ways to experience sound — from digital visualization to science rap battles to creating your own instruments out of scrap parts.

PROJECT #1: Visualizing Sounds


Sound artist Sudhu Tewari joined Youth Radio for an exciting hands on Brains and Beakers event on the science behind “seeing” sound. He brought in an instrument he created himself using a colander, springs, and some spare television and speaker parts. Sudhu showed us how sound and light could correspond with each other, connecting music and movement. For a Q&A with Sudhu Tewari  (including his favorite tactile music videos and more examples of his work) go here.

PROJECT #2: DIY Speakers


Got ten dollars and ten minutes? You can make your own speakers! In this installment of Brains and Beakers, the Explainers from hands-on science museum the Exploratorium show how you can blast your favorite songs with just a few items from the local hardware store. All you need are magnets, alligator clips, copper wire, a cone (that could be made out of anything), and of course, a music player.

PROJECT #3: Computer Science Sounds Off (Build Your Own Instruments)

Nick Kruge and Nick Bryant, who at the time were two students at Stanford University’s Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA), showed how they use iPhones, iPads, failed sports equipment, and even upside-down wooden salad bowls embedded with electronics, to create new musical instruments. “The Nicks” demonstrated how they’ve been pairing music and computer science to research and re-invent sound-making.

PROJECT #4: Science Rap

Music can help with learning and memory and can be used as a tool in the classroom. That’s one reason why educator and rapper, Tom McFadden, is bringing battle raps to science class. He created a curriculum to teach middle and high school students how to write raps about important scientific concepts. Check out the video for a science rap battle between James Watson, Francis Crick and Rosalind Franklin.

For more curriculum resources co-developed with youth, check out Teach Youth Radio.

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