Skip Navigation

TRB 6:6 - Activity 7 - Battle of the Bands


Students will create musical instruments to demonstrate how sound can be made in a variety of ways.


  • bottles
  • string
  • boxes (shoe box size and smaller)
  • utensils
  • rubber bands
  • scissors
  • straws
  • other misc. items
  • journal

Background for Teachers

This activity will allow students to create instruments from materials provided by the teacher or found in and around their homes. They will make and play instruments of their choice. They will also learn and be able to tell how each of the instruments in their band creates sound. Get ready for a few interesting class periods.

Intended Learning Outcomes

3-Understand science concepts and principles
4-Communicate effectively using science language and reasoning

Instructional Procedures

Invitation to Learn:
How did musical instruments get started? Who made the first musical instruments? 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 the classroom?

Instructional Procedures:

  1. Show the class your set of materials and have them think of ways they could make musical instruments out of them. (If you have several sets of the same or miscellaneous items, pass them out to groups and have them make musical instruments.)
  2. Have students brainstorm instruments they could build from materials around their homes. Each group should bring items to school to create their own band and perform for the class.
  3. Explain the rules/requirements.
    • Each student must have an instrument made of common items found around the house/neighborhood. (Items can be brought to school to make the instrument, or the instrument could be assigned as homework.)
    • Each student in the group must play his/her instrument in the group's band
    • Each group must play a recognizable tune (nursery rhyme, folk song, TV theme, Disney tune, etc.).
    • Each student in the group should be able to tell how all instruments in the group produce sound.
    • Each student must keep a journal of the steps he/she took in creating his/her band.
  4. Use one class period for the "Battle of the Bands." Each band gets a fixed amount of time for their performance. (5-10 min.)


Create a classroom orchestra/band from all groups.

Have students create a "One Man Band."

Create instruments similar to those being studied in the social studies curriculum

Travel to other classes to perform songs.

Assessment Plan

The following rubric could be used or adapted for grading this activity.

Description           Total
Student set up demonstration correctly. 5 4 3 2 1  
Student's journal showed understanding in writing. 5 4 3 2 1  
Student's journal showed understanding with pictures/drawings. 5 4 3 2 1  
Student's journal showed evidence of self-learning. 5 4 3 2 1  
Oral report activity. 5 4 3 2 1  


This lesson is part of the Sixth Grade Science Teacher Resource Book (TRB3) The TRB3 is designed to be your textbook in teaching science curriculum to your students. This book covers all the objectives of each standard and benchmark. If taught efficiently, a student should do well on the End-of-Level (CRT) tests. The TRB3 is designed for teachers who know very little about science, as well as for teachers who have a broad understanding of science.

Created: 10/08/2002
Updated: 02/05/2018