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Music can be quite a lovely sound, and it also has a heart in science. Sound waves that carry voices and song are variations in pressure through different mediums- like air. Ultimately, those vibrations reach the human eardrum, which in turn vibrates, and our brain processes it as sound. In this experiment, we’ll be focusing on the medium of sound waves, and how that affects the pitches our brain receives.  

What You’ll Need: 

  • 6 Small mason jars
  • Water
  • Food coloring
  • 6 Stirring rods or spoons

What to Do: 

  1. Line up the mason jars into a row 
  2. Pour 1/6th of a cup onto the first jar, then 2/6th of a cup into the second jar, and so on until the last jar has a full cup of water 
  3. Put a few drops of food coloring into each jar – this can be all the same color of varying intensities, or it could be a rainbow. 
  4. Gently tap each jar with a stirring rod or spoon, and listen carefully to the different sounds 

What is Happening: 

Sound waves cause their surrounding medium to vibrate. In this experiment, that medium is water. As we change the amount of water, we are adjusting the medium and thus the vibrations themselves.  

For future experiments: 

  1. Try adjusting the water levels to see what sounds can be made. 
  2. Water has a different density than other liquids. Try other drinks and see what the difference is! 
  3. Try using the same amount of water levels but with different containers. 

Want to learn more?

My First Lab has been a leader in developing STEM equipment for the past 30 years. With products ranging from microscopes and bundles to prepared slides and accessories, we are sure to have any product for the junior investigator, hobbyist or educational leader. Learn how to create some hands-on experiments through our Maximum Launch, enjoy our blog or browse our award-winning products.