Decibel Cannon

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In this activity, learners will construct an air cannon as a model for the human ear. Explore what happens when the your ear is exposed to loud sounds and experiment with ways to protect your hearing. This activity uses low cost materials and can be done at home. Activity includes step-by-step instructions with pictures and a "What's Going On?" section that explains the science. This activity pairs well with Sound Dampeners.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$1 - $5 per student

Age Range:
Ages 11 - adult

Resource Type:


Materials List (per student)

  • 9 oz. plastic cup
  • Scissors or utility knife
  • 1 balloon
  • Cotton balls


  • Life Sciences
    • Human Body
  • Physical Sciences
    • Vibration and Waves

Informal Categories

  • Arts and Crafts


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Access Rights:

  • Free access



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