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Sound and Vision

What You Need:

• Empty tube-shaped oatmeal box
• Balloon
• Scissors
• Rubber band
• Tin foil
• Tape or glue
• A light source, such as a flashlight or small lamp
• A sound partner

Question: How can you see sound?

1) First, carefully cut the bottom out of the oatmeal box.

2) Then, cut the balloon into a shape that will cover one end of the tube.

3) Now, make a drum by stretching the balloon tightly across the end of the tube.

4) Use the rubber band to hold the balloon in place.

5) Tape or glue the foil to the center of the balloon drum. The foil should be as shiny as possible so keep it as smooth as you can.

6) The sound partner makes some loud noises into the tube. At the same time, the vision partner focuses the light source onto the foil.

7) Now, trade places. Be amazed that you can actually see sound!

A Scientific Explanation:

All sound is caused by vibration. For instance, the vibration of your vocal chords causes the sound of your voice. Touch the center of your neck and say something. You can feel your vocal chords vibrate. Sound vibrations travel through the air as invisible waves. When you made noises into the tube the waves bounced against the balloon. That's how you were able to see sound!


Now that you know vibrations cause sound, what are other ways you can think of to see sound? Express your ideas with your own sound and vision experiment!