User login

Sound Automata

Source Institutions

    Community Science Workshop Network

Add to listGo to activity
Sound Automata

In this activity, learners build their own sound machines and explore the interplay of motion and sound. This engineering activity introduces learners to automata, rotational motion, cranks and cams, simple machines, and sound waves. [Activity is publicly available through a web crawler capture on]

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
45 to 60 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$5 - $10 per student

Age Range:
Ages 6 - 14

Resource Types:
Activity, Lesson/Lesson Plan


Materials List (per student)

  • 2 clear plastic cups, large
  • 2 bamboo skewers
  • 2 straws
  • 1 sheet of cardboard or foam core
  • 1 bottle cap
  • 1 wire hanger
  • 2-3 metal washers
  • 1 can with a metal bottom
  • wire or string, thin
  • screwdriver
  • scissors
  • hot glue gun
  • utility knife
  • pliers


  • Engineering and Technology
    • Engineering
      • Mechanical Engineering
  • Physical Sciences
    • Energy
      • Work and Machines
    • Motion and Forces
      • Machines
      • Rotation Motion
    • Vibration and Waves
      • Wave Properties
      • Wave Motion
      • Sound
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Conducting Investigations

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


Components that are part of this resource:

Includes alignment to state and/or national standards

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access


  • Oakland Discovery Centers


  • All Rights Reserved, Oakland Discovery Centers, ©2012

Related Video:


User Lists

This resource is part of these lists: