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Can You Create A Paper Plate Guitar That Plays Music?

"Music is a more potent instrument than any other for education" - Plato

Did you know that music ignites all areas of child development and skills for school readiness, including intellectual, social-emotional, motor, language, and overall literacy? Bring music into your your space with our STEM Challenge that features a low and high tech option!

What you need per student...

  • Two Paper Plates With A Rim 
  • Glue 
  • Paint Stir Stick 
  • 4 Rubber Bands 
  • Decoration Materials 
  • Paint, Stickers, Markers, Etc.  

Adding some tech? You will also need...

What you need to do...

  •  Start by gathering all the supplies you are going to need and deciding if you want to add tech into this STEM challenge. 
  • Once you have gathered your materials give students all the materials needed and have them sit at their desks. 
  • Tell students that the objective of this challenge is to create a paper plate guitar that plays music. 
  • Have students first glue two paper plates together. This is important for building a sturdy base! 
  • Now it's time to make the neck of the guitar. Cover the bottom third of the paint stir stick with glue and stick to the back of the plate to make the neck. 
  • Once students are done gluing their guitars together it's time to let their creativity flow. Let them decorate their guitars however they want. They can paint, draw, or even add some stickers. 
  • Take some time now to let their guitars dry. Depending on how students decorated their guitars it may take longer for their guitars to dry. 
  • Now is the perfect time to ask students some questions about how they think they will finish their guitars. You can also ask them why they decorated their guitars the way they did and if they think they will be able to play music on them. 
  • Once the guitars are dry wrap four rubber bands around the plate. Place two of the rubber bands to the left side of the stick, and two rubber bands to the right side of the stick. If you use both thick and thin rubber bands students will be able to make different sounds. 
  • Time to play! Have students experiment with producing different sounds. 
  • To end, let students share the different sounds they can make.

Adding some tech?​

  • Put students into pairs, using the guitars they made have them add aluminum foil to their guitar to make it work with Makey Makey. 
  • For example, have them add aluminum foil to the neck of their guitars.   
  • Students should also write instructions on how to connect their guitars to the Makey Makey. 
  • Before they start go around the room and give students feedback on their ideas.   
  • Now have students connect their guitars to the Makey Makey and play them! 
  • To end, have students play a short demo of their guitars to the rest of the class.

New to Makey Makey? Here is a great introduction video.

We would love to see you try this STEM Challenge. Share your results with us through social media!

Happy Making,

Maker Maven

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