Organ Pipe: Get Bach to the fundamentals

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If you got a big graduated or clear cylinder, water, a pipe, and a tuning fork, you've got a sound learning opportunity! Learn about resonance with this Exploratorium Science Snack.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
5 to 10 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
free per student

Age Range:
Ages 6 - 14

Resource Type:


Materials List (per student)

  • A large graduated cylinder (approximately 1-liter capacity) or other clear, deep cylinder that can hold water (you can make your own by cementing a 2-foot (60-cm) length of 3-inch (~10-cm) diameter clear plastic pipe to a large, stable base)
  • A 3-foot (1-meter) length of clear or opaque plastic pipe, approximately 2 inches (5 centimeters) in diameter (make sure the pipe can slide freely inside the cylinder noted above; thin-walled PVC pipe works well and is inexpensive)
  • Tuning fork (one will do, but it's interesting to have others set to different frequencies)
  • Water


  • Physical Sciences
    • Vibration and Waves
      • Wave Properties
      • Sound


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Access Rights:

  • Free access