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Showing posts from June, 2015

Some videos of STEAM programs we've had lately at Central Library

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We recently had a few STEAM-related programs at the library that I wanted to share on here. The first was called "Tablets and Tech for Kids," and we were using the library's iPads and robots to learn coding, as well as using the library's iPads and Osmo game systems to complete physics and geometry challenges. Then we had another program about making musical instruments, which encouraged kids to try to experiment and find ways to design their instruments to play better. Kids and parents struggled to make great drums with very taut balloon membranes. Children also tried to make their rubber-band guitar strings more taut, and played with different kinds of rubber bands to get the design they wanted.

The Science Behind Making Music

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This afternoon we had a program at Pasadena Library about how to make a musical instrument--something that would produce not just noise, but definite pitches that you could change or manipulate.  We learned about aerophones, chordophones, idiophones and membranophones, and then got a chance to make our own DIY instruments.

Here was my setup:


Not shown: a large container of water, which we needed for some of the instruments.

First, we talked about the properties of sound and experimented with a "head harp," which is made by putting a string through a wire hanger and holding both ends up to your ears to hear what sounds it made when we let the hanger hit the wall.  Without the strings being close to your ears, all you hear is a faint click, but when the strings are held up to your ears it sounds like a gong or a church bell.  This helped to convey a lesson about how much faster and better sound moves through solids than through air.




After some more discussion about how musi…