Experiment with sound with the Freelance Ranger Sound Laboratory
You can have fun exploring the properties of sound in my sound lab. Prefect for a summer holiday outdoor activity and pretty good the rest of the time too, even for a school setting. This lab can combine lots of different activities where you can move from station to station spending time on what interests you most.
I designed the laboratory to allow a wide spectrum of ages to be accommodated at the same time or for small groups of a similar age to develop an understanding of sound by moving from station to station. The lab can be split into experimenting and making for a full day of activities.
Looking after our environment - I use lots of recycled materials from metal oven shelves and tin cans to plastic bottles and cardboard tubes. I show how you can use plastic straws to make music instead of throwing them away.
It's Not Just Sound
Good Vibrations - you don't just hear sounds you can sometimes see them too. Watch and see if you can see and even feel the vibrations sounds make.
Different Things Make Different Sounds - there are lots of materials to experiment with here wood, metal, paper, bamboo... even the wind can make noises.
Quiet and Loud - Use different strikers on the same thing to see what makes the quietest and loudest sounds.
Ting, Whap, Crump - Use the same striker on different materials and listen to see what the deference is. How would you describe it?
Shakers - Can you identify what is in the egg shakers? What will you put into your own plastic bottle shaker?
Tin Can Telephones - you always see these in cartoons and the like but have you ever tried one for real? Experiment with my can telephone and see if you can hear someone at the other end. How does it work?
The Silver Box of Sound - What is inside? Lots of things that make different noises. Even the box itself makes a noise. Can you find them all? Which will you like best?
Making More Noise
Not being very musical I have to say that we make noisemakers rather than musical instruments as it really depends on the ability of the person playing them. I have had real grown up musicians who were part of an orchestra spend ages at my Sound Lab and they played real percussion on the water drums and got the bottle xylophone tuned so that they could play 'Ode to Joy'
Tooting on a Tooteroo - Plastic straws can make fantastic noises. I make simple noise makers using plastic straws and a plastic bottle, we call them tooteroos after a Scots name for daffodils. If you are musical and can play an oboe or similar reed instruments we can elevate plastic straws to something really awesome by making double reeds. Check out this amazing video for inspiration.
Booming Balloon Bassons - Waste cardboard tubes and a balloon can be made into an awesome noisemaker. I know that they are not really bassoons but the name stuck. You can see the vibrations that are making the sounds and of course different sized tubes make different sounds.
Paper noise makers - Even paper can be made into noisemakers! It is possible to make a whistle, a squeaker, a striker and even a whistling whirler from paper.
Play some Water Drums - these bowls sound quite different when you float them on water. The size of the bowl creates a different pitch. You can experiment with pitch and rhythms.
Create a Bottle Xylophone - I must admit to being a bit tone deaf but it was great fun finding things to make this bottle and water xylophone which is also part of my water lab.
There are so many things for us to experiment with...........
What kinds of things make the best sounds?
What are the best things to hit them with?
What happens to the sounds if you add water?
Can you make a scale?
Can you play a tune?
If you check out the video below you might recognise the tune and spot the star connection to go with me being a Biosphere Dark Sky Ranger.