Source Institutions

Add to list Go to activity
In this activity, learners create a traditional Mexican noisemaker (a matraca) using cardboard, craft sticks, and a wooden dowel. Use this activity to introduce learners to musical instruments, sound, and frequency. This lesson guide includes step-by-step instructions with photos, background information and focus questions for learners. [Activity is publicly available through a web crawler capture on]

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
5 to 10 minutes

Learning Time:
1 to 2 hours

Estimated Materials Cost:
$1 - $5 per student

Age Range:
Ages 6 - 18

Resource Types:
Activity, Lesson/Lesson Plan


Materials List (per student)

  • 3 Wood pieces, 1 in x 2 in x 3 in long
  • 2 Craft sticks
  • 9 in Dowel, 5/16 in. diameter
  • 2 Wood pieces, at least 7 in long
  • Cardboard or corrugated plastic
  • Tape, black or masking
  • Glue gun (with glue)
  • Paint (optional)


  • Engineering and Technology
    • Engineering
  • Life Sciences
    • Human Senses and Perception
      • Hearing
  • Physical Sciences
    • Vibration and Waves
      • Sound
  • The Nature of Technology
    • The Design Process

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


Includes alignment to state and/or national standards:

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access


  • Watsonville Environmental Science Workshop


  • All rights reserved, Watsonville Environmental Science Workshop, 2011