How brass instruments work

July 10, 2009

A comment from a teacher about a nice lecture on how brass instruments work. I’ve seen Brian Holmes speak and he is very good! If you have a broadband connection you can hear and see a great lecture by Brian Holmes on how brass musical instruments work. It really is very good. I saw this […]

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Myth: Helium makes your voice high-pitched

March 26, 2009

A friend just pointed out an interesting misconception that I hadn’t thought about. When you inhale helium, your voice sounds higher. It turns out that your voice isn’t actually higher-pitched! At least, not in the way that we think it is.  The reasoning is a little convoluted…. read on. Here’s the common misconception: The speed […]

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Find that sound!

December 12, 2008

This week’s episode of my Science Teaching Tips podcast actually features, well, me! Yay. It’s nice to record myself, not always other people, though the folks at the Exploratorium are so darned clever and fun, I feel it’s my mission to document every last scrap of their wisdom and energy. I’m trying… So, this time […]

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Make your own phonograph (Repost)

December 6, 2008

I’ve got so many different posts that I want to write… scribbled notes on different science myths and beautiful everyday things, but I have been so very busy. I’m sorry. I will get back to writing detailed posts in a few weeks! In the meantime, I’d like to recycle a good old post on making […]

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What makes your ears ring?

October 7, 2008

What is it that makes your ears ring after something loud (like a private iPod concert turned up too high)? The highfalutin’ word for it is “tinnitus.” When your ear is exposed to sounds that are too loud, the hair cells in the inner ear that act as little sound sensors get damaged. In response […]

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Whirled Music: The physics of whirlies!

September 5, 2008

Us geeks have strange hobbies. My old boss, Paul D., plays the corrugated plastic tube, also known as a “whirly.” I just posted a new episode of my Science Teaching Tips podcast where he plays the whirly (like a true master) and explains the science behind the sound. It’s not quite what you might think! […]

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Make your own phonograph (podcast)

August 15, 2008

TI staff educator Eric Muller explains how to make your own record player! See my previous longer post about this activity, too. Groovy Sounds activity (PDF) More of Eric Muller’s activities

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That sounds good!

July 20, 2008

I just posted a new episode of my Science Teaching Tips podcast.  Exploratorium staff physicist Thomas Humphrey divulges a clever way to measure the speed of sound, and he explains how he’s used that information to measure things in the world.

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Sound sucker

July 8, 2008

I just read this neat little gem in The Physics Teacher. Take a bunch of coffee stirrers (the kind that look like round straws for wee folke) and set them into a box so they’re all upright (all the little holes are looking up at you). Jiggle them and pack them tightly so that they […]

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Sound Bytes

April 6, 2008

I’ve posted a new episode to my podcast, Science Teaching Tips. I’ve always been fascinated with sound — there are a lot of neat things you can do with sound, and some little known facts. This podcast is a bit of a smattering of some of the fun things I found out about sound while […]

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Sound Bytes

November 30, 2007

Hey, I’ve posted a new episode on my podcast, Science Teaching Tips. Episode: 20. Sound Bytes (Part 1) Our host, Stephanie Chasteen, shares some fun facts and activities having to do with the science of sound. Stephanie Chasteen’s Web site: Enjoy!

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Make your own phonograph

July 6, 2007

I love this little activity… Have an old record but no record player? Here’s how you can listen to it. Take a record and stick a pencil through the hole in the middle so it’s pretty close to the point of the pencil. That’s your turntable. Now take a piece of paper and roll it […]

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Don’t keep it bottled up

June 26, 2007

If you fill a glass bottle partway with water, and hit it with a spoon, you’ll hear a pitch. If you dump out some of the water, and hit it again, you’ll get a higher pitch. Less water, higher pitch. That’s because the frequency of sound is related to how quickly the sound wave can […]

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