Several years ago I thought it was so cute when Allie asked to get my husband bells for his birthday. Of course this turned out to be more of a present for her than for him.
Since then we’ve had two more kiddos and the bells have been stashed around the house because it turns out that noise exponentially increases the more kids you have. I’m sure there is a mathematical equation to prove this but I digress..
This afternoon the kids found one of the bells and began bickering over who was going to drive mom crazy with a bell solo. I figured it was the perfect time for a science experiment together while I put the bell away from reaching distance. Little did I know how much the kids would enjoy this experiment making music together.
What you need:
- Several glasses
- Tap water
- Metal spoon
- Food coloring (I got the idea to color the water from this post… it really is genius.)
- Optional: These trays will mitigate messes
How you do it:
- Fill the water glasses with different levels of water
- Add food coloring for fun
- Gently tap the glasses
- Discuss how the different water level changes the sound
Beautiful isn’t it? I think they were surprised too! We ended up taking the bells down and tried matching the bell note to the water glass. Now that was fun.
What’s the science?
Sound occurs due to vibration. When you tap a spoon on glass, the glass vibrates at a certain frequency. The lower the water level, the higher vibration frequency causing a high tone. The higher the water level, the lower the tone.
So thanks to science, what could have turned out to be a loud-bell-ringing-sibling-argument instead turned out to be a beautiful science symphony.