Make a sound sandwich

Make a sound sandwich

How loud can you be?

Use simple household items to make a musical instrument.

What you need:

  • One large elastic band
  • Two small elastic bands
  • Two large lollipop (popsicle) sticks
  • Two straws
  • Scissors

How to:

This video shows how you can make a sound sandwich:

Ask an adult for help with using scissors.

  1. Cut the tops off both the straws - just before the bend.
  2. Stretch the large rubber band lengthwise across the lollipop stick.
  3. Place one of the straws about a third of the way down the lollipop stick, underneath the large elastic band.
  4. Put the other lollipop stick on top - like a sandwich! Use a small elastic band to hold the lollipop sticks together at the end.
  5. Place the second straw around a third of the way down the lollipop stick at the opposite end. This time, put it on top of the large elastic band.
  6. Use the second elastic band to hold the end of the lollipop sticks together.

Now you can play your intstrument! Hold the sound sandwich to your mouth and blow.

Sound sandwich

Playing the sound sandwich

What can you hear? Can you make different sounds? Try moving the straws closer together. Does this change the sound?

Try the experiment with different sized rubber bands - long, short, thick and thin. You could make your own sound sandwich orchestra!

What's happening?

When you blow through the sound sandwich, the air vibrates the elastic band. The vibrations produce a sound.

Large elastic bands vibrate slowly and produce a low-pitched sound. Shorter elastic bands produce a high-pitched sound. If you move the straws closer together, you make the elastic band shorter. This makes the sound more high pitched.

To find out more about sound and hearing, go to Make a homemade hearing aid.

Curriculum information

  • Summary

    Drinking straws, lolly-ice sticks and elastic bands are all that are needed to make a fantastic sound-making device. Varying the design allows children to investigate the production of sound in a controlled way.

    Curriculum key wordsOther web links
    • Hearing
    • Waves
    • Sound
    Interactive animation on different types of sounds
    Can you identify the different birds?
    Science Curriculum Links
    National CurriculumCurriculum for excellenceNorthern Ireland Curriculum
    Detecting sound (KS1 Sc4 3c,d). Vibration and sound (KS2 Sc4 3g).Sound vibrations, waves (SCN 2-11a).Sound and vibrations (Foundation and KS2 Strand 2).