Doppler Effect

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Sound changes pitch relative to how you or the source of the sound is moving. Use this simple activity developed by the Exploratorium to experience the Doppler Effect yourself!

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
5 to 10 minutes

Learning Time:
Under 5 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
1 cent - $1 per student

Age Range:
Ages 6 - 14

Resource Type:


Materials List (per student)

  • Tennis ball or wiffle ball (something you can cut open)
  • Knife
  • A 9-volt battery and connector
  • A 9-volt buzzer (a high-pitched one works best)
  • Scrap paper to pack inside the ball
  • Heavy rubber bands or tape
  • Strong string
  • Optional: On/off switch (available at hardware stores)



  • Life Sciences
    • Human Body
      • The Brain and Nervous System
    • Human Senses and Perception
      • Hearing
      • Perception
  • Mathematics
    • Measurement
  • Physical Sciences
    • Vibration and Waves
      • Wave Properties
      • Sound
      • The Doppler Effect


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Access Rights:

  • Free access