Make a straw flute

Make a straw flute


Right, this is a classic experiment that’s been around for many years, it’s called the straw flute. Now, you just need any straw, probably not the really large ones for thickshakes, just small ones. They’re easier to use, and plus I suppose they’re cheaper too. Now what you need to do is cut this in a way which can make a reed which is going to vibrate. Now, I’ve got my whiteboard here to show you how we’re going to chop this tube, so if we’ve got our tube like this, what we’re going to do is simply chop these edges off, so that your straw ends up looking like that. Now what we’re going to do is flatten that out, cut just like the diagrams, one way, other way. Show the students the little ‘flappy’ bits here. Now the trick to do this is if you put the points in the middle of your mouth, seal your lips around the straw and as you blow pull the tube outwards you’ll hit a sweet spot where this will start to vibrate. In this case… [straw flute vibration sounds] Works pretty easily, now usually kids just go nuts for it, they love it! Now, what’s a great demonstration is to have a child come up, borrow the scissors, tell them not to poke your eyes out, or chop your nose off or something, basically just watch out for yourself. Get them to chop small amounts off as you blow. The sound will change because as you shorten that tube, the waves will get shorter and shorter waves are a higher sound. So, I’ll just get this going myself… … and chop it away. [sound pitch gets higher & higher as the straw gets cut]

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