Can You Make Your Own Harmonica?
Did you know that the Harmonica is one of the oldest and most popular instruments of all time? They are the perfect way for students to make their own music. We have a fun STEM challenge that will have your students use popsicle sticks and rubber bands to create sounds.
For this challenge, students will make changes to a harmonica to see if sounds change based on placement. Are you up for the challenge?
What you need per student…
- Can You Make Your Own Harmonica? Creator Sheet
- Pen or Pencil
- Popsicle Sticks (2)
- ¼ sheet of Cardstock
- Large Rubber Band (1)
- Rubber Bands (2)
- Markers - For Decorating
What you need to do...
- Students will do this challenge independently.
- Students will write their name on the Creator Sheets.
- Tell students that the objective of this challenge is to test out their harmonica and see if they can change the sounds by moving around the paper.
- Give each student the materials needed.
- On their Creator Sheets, have students start brainstorming on different designs for a harmonica, color they might want to color it and the biggest piece is deciding where they want to put their paper (on the very edge, an inch from the edge, or maybe even two inches from the edge) to see if the music changes tone.
- Once students have finished brainstorming, they will take one popsicle stick and a large rubber band.
- Students will take the large rubber band and stretch it around the popsicle stick. The rubber band should wrap from edge to edge longways.
- Put the popsicle stick with the rubber band off to the side, next you are going to need your piece of cardstock.
- Take your cardstock and you are going to cut TWO squares that measure 2x2 inches.
- Once you have cut your TWO squares, take one and fold it in half THREE times.
- Put that ONE square piece, that was folded THREE times and put it to the side. Now grab a piece of tape and roll it, so that the sticky side is up all around.
- Take your tape and place it on the ONE square piece that was folded THREE times.
- Take one of your popsicle sticks WITHOUT the rubber band, and place the tape you rolled on the folded square onto the popsicle stick (refer back to your Creator Sheet, and see where you wanted to try first).
- Put this off to the side, and take your second square that has not been folded, and fold it THREE times.
- Take your second piece of tape and roll it like before and put it on your SECOND folded square piece.
- Take this and place it on the opposite side of your popsicle stick on the exact same spot, we want the tape to be symmetrical.
- Now that you have both of your 2x2 pieces of cardboard taped to the popsicle stick, take the popsicle stick with the rubber band, and you are going to put it on top of the tap.
- Push the two popsicle sticks together. You are now going to take rubber bands and wrap them around the edges. One on each side, remember we want them to be symmetrical. We do not want it to be so tight that no air can flow through, but tight enough to keep the harmonica together.
- Students will record on their Creator Sheets any struggles they have while creating their harmonica.
- Once you have tried the sound for the first set, take apart the harmonica and change where you are putting the cardstock with tape.
- Put it back together and record your thoughts on the Creator Sheet.
We would love to see you try this STEM challenge. Share your results with us through social media!