Thumb Piano

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In this activity, learners explore sound by constructing a simple piano out of wood and craft sticks. Use this activity to demonstrate principles of sound including vibration, pitch, tone, frequency, and volume. Note: this activity requires the use of a drill and saw, not included in the cost of materials. [Activity is publicly available through a web crawler capture on]

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
30 to 45 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$1 - $5 per student

Age Range:
Ages 6 - 11

Resource Types:
Activity, Lesson/Lesson Plan


Materials List (per student)

  • 2 blocks of wood, 5-8" long
  • 4-5 small craft sticks
  • 2 machine screws or carriage bolts, 1/4"
  • 2 wing nuts or regular nuts
  • small saw
  • drill and 3/16" bit
  • screwdriver


  • Life Sciences
    • Human Senses and Perception
      • Hearing
  • Physical Sciences
    • 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


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, 2011