Make Pan Pipes

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This is a simple activity for learners to create a traditional musical instrument. Pan Pipes have developed all over the world in different cultures, from South America to Greece and China. They are usually made from bamboo, reeds or other hard, hollow wood. These pan pipes are made with straws, with clay to stop up the bottom. With this pan pipe you can play the tones do, re, mi, fa , so , la, ti, do. This activity is courtesy of the Sound Crew. Sound Crew is a team of teenagers who worked on the Wild Music project, in the Science Museum of Minnesota’s Youth Science Center.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Learning Time:
45 to 60 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$1 - $5 per student

Age Range:
Ages 6 - adult

Resource Type:

English, Spanish

Materials List (per student)

  • Straws (fat ones for milkshakes or bubble tea work best; 8 per pan pipe)
  • Wide Craft Sticks (6 per pan pipe)
  • small lump of Plasticine (clay)
  • Double-Stick Tape (plastic carpet tape works well)
  • scissors
  • ruler


  • Engineering and Technology
    • Engineering
  • Physical Sciences
    • Vibration and Waves
      • Sound

Informal Categories

  • Arts and Crafts
  • Music
  • Toys


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • hear
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Links STEM to other topics of interest such as arts and humanities
  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Foreign language versions of this resource:

Components that are part of this resource:

Includes alignment to state and/or national standards:

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access



Funding Sources:

  • National Science Foundation
  • Harman International
  • NEC Foundation of America