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Making Vocal Cords

Source Institutions

    Science Museum of Minnesota

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Making Vocal Cords

In this activity, learners imitate the way vocal cords work by building a model from a plastic cup, rubber band, and a straw. Then learners blow through the straw onto the model, and listen to the strange sounds it makes by varying how hard they blow, or at what angle they blow. You can try to vary the sounds by varying the materials used as well.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
5 to 10 minutes

Learning Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
1 cent - $1 per student

Age Range:
Ages 6 - 14

Resource Types:
Activity, Model


Materials List (per student)

  • plastic cup
  • rubber bands
  • plastic straw
  • your lungs!


  • Life Sciences
    • Human Body
    • Human Senses and Perception
      • Hearing
  • Physical Sciences
    • Vibration and Waves
      • Sound

Informal Categories

  • Model Building


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • hear
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Foreign language versions of this resource:

Includes alignment to state and/or national standards

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access


Funding Sources:

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


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