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Slinky Sound – Virtual Science Space

Music to my ears!

Is this music to your ears? Our world is full of sounds. The science behind sound is just AMAZING. In this super fun video, Dr. Joh explores the science behind sound and how it is created by making her very own musical instrument at home…from a SLINKY! You can try this experiment at home if you have a paper cup and a slinky so get cracking.

What you need:

  • Slinky
  • Paper cup
  • Something to poke a hole in said cup




[JOH] Hi everyone, my name’s Joh and I work here at Science Space. Now anybody who’s spoken to me about my job for about five seconds will know that my very favourite demonstration to do here for our visitors is this one. So this has to do, again, with sound. Sound is made by vibration, so things moving in the air, kinda like how you wave your hand backwards and forwards. I mean you can’t hear your hand, to be able to have your hand make a sound that we’d be able to hear you’d have to be able to move your hand about twenty thousand times a second, which means I probably wouldn’t have a hand anymore and that’s not ideal. So what we’re gonna do, is we’re gonna make sounds with something that can vibrate that fast. So you might have one of these at home, this is a slinky. These were really really popular way back when I was a kid, I’m old. This vibrates backwards and forwards. What we can do is use this to try and make a sound, so what I’m gonna do is I’m gonna hold this up and we’re gonna drop it on the bench and we’re gonna see if we can hear anything. See if we can hear anything, that’s a weird sentence, but you get what I mean. Are we ready? I mean we kinda heard something a little bit when it hit the bench but wasn’t super loud. So let’s see if we can make that sound louder. Now when you guys are trying to call to each other across a playground what do you do with your hands? You kinda do this, right? Yeah, echo, echo, echo! So you try and make that sound go further, it kinda bounces around a little bit to make it louder. So I’m going to do the same thing with the slinky, but with this guy. So this is just a paper cup that we have here in our Stem Zone at Science Space. And I’m gonna thread that in through a little hole in the bottom of the cup that I’ve made. 

[OFF CAMERA] Can we see that little hole again?

[JOH] Yeah of course! Can you see?


[JOH] Awesome. So I’m just gonna thread the very end of that through and then just twist it on kinda like a spring. And now we’re gonna listen to what that sounds like and see if it’s changed the sound. Are we ready? In 3, 2, 1! I think I’m gonna need to try that one on the floor a little bit because it made the sound a bit louder. You ready? 

[OFF CAMERA] Here I come.

[JOH] In 3,2,1! What does it sound like? You guys need to try this one at home I think, because it sounds a lot better in person and you can make it even louder if you’ve got a bigger cup, ao you can try and use a bucket, you can poke a hole in the bottom of it and see what happens when you use a different slinky. I would recommend using a metal slinky, it tends to work a lot better than the plastic ones. We’d love to see your creations, so please make sure that you tag us on Instagram and on Facebook and let us know what you create! Thanks, bye!




Virtual Science Space is our offering to the community during these challenging times. We are aiming to help all aspiring scientists, engineers and STEM lovers alike to continue their STEM learning at home.

Using our amazing  STEM Team made up of real-life scientists, science students and aspiring educators to we have videoed awesome experiments, fantastic demos (that come directly out of our LIVE science shows) and put together some maker challenges for you and your children to do together at home.

As the COVD-19 situation is evolving at a rapid speed, we have done our best to quickly create these materials. As such, we have not edited ANY of these videos, and we ask that you please be understanding.  All videos will have closed captioning available via our YouTube channel.

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