Heat, Light and Sound - Music Time

Journal Entry - Take out your science journal and answer the following question(s) (use drawings as appropriate):

How do you think musical instruments got their start? 
Who made the first musical instrument?

What kinds of musical instruments could you make from materials in your home? 

What kinds of musical instruments could you make from the materials in your classroom?

Here are two ideas for making an instrument. Try making these to get you warmed up, then scout around for materials such as:

  • Bottles
  • String
  • Boxes
  • Utensils
  • Rubber bands
  • Scissors
  • Straws
  • Anything you want

Now, make your own instrument.  Compare it with your friends’ instruments.  Share with your friends how your instrument produces sound.



  • Empty round container (can, empty round oatmeal box)
  • Paper (or plastic cover for empty can)
  • Suggestion - use an empty shortening container including the plastic lid
  • Masking tape
  • Sticks


  1. Clean out the empty container
  2. Put paper or the plastic cover over the top of the container
  3. Use tape to hold the paper or plastic cover on the container.
  4. Tap the paper or plastic cover gently with your sticks to see what sound it makes.

String instrument

  • Empty metal container (empty can)
  • Elastic bands
  • Masking tape


  1. Make sure that the top is removed from the can (be careful to make sure that you do not hurt yourself when cutting off the top.)
  2. Cut each elastic in half (so it is long and not round).
  3. Tape one half of each elastic band to one side of the can.
  4. Stretch each rubber band separately to the other side of the can and tape it in place.
  5. Try to stretch each rubber band a little tighter than the last one was.
  6. Test your instrument by gently lifting one elastic band up and letting it go. Listen carefully to any differences between each elastic band.


  1. In what ways is your instrument similar to the instrument your friend made?
  2. What sounds does your instrument make that is similar to your friend's instrument?
  3. What differences exist between your instrument and your friend's instrument?
  4. What instrument do you like the best? Why is it your favorite?
  5. What instrument can you buy that is similar to the one you made?
utah state board of education This Sci-ber Text was developed by the Utah State Board of Education and Utah educators.