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Experiment: Simple Sound Waves

This super simple sound wave experiment (say that 10x fast!) is a great way to explore how sound travels.


  • a ruler
  • 4 feet of yarn or string
  • a metal spoon (or fork)


Step 1: Measure 4 feet of yarn.

Step 2: Create a loop in the center of your yarn and insert the handle of the spoon into the loop.

Step 3: Tighten the yarn around the spoon handle, so that the spoon hangs down and you have two equal pieces of yarn dangling from each side of the spoon.

Step 4: Now take the two ends separately in each of your hands and wrap them around your pointer fingers.

Step 5: Press your string wrapped fingers over the opening of your ears with the spoon hanging down below.

Step 6: Now for the fun part! Have someone GENTLY tap the ruler against the round part of the spoon. The person holding the spoon will hear a lovely sound.

What in the WOW is happening?  Tapping the spoon or fork will cause it to vibrate, and those vibrations will make sound waves. The yarn then acts as a conductor, allowing the sound waves to travel up the yarn, instead of just spreading around in the surrounding air.