Torsion Drum

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In this activity, learners build a musical drum using a cardboard tube, plastic wrap, and beads. Learners use a saw to cut the tube, a drill to make holes for a handle, and a hair dryer to seal plastic shrink wrap around the drum. Adult supervision required with these tools. Use this activity to help learners explore sound waves and vibration. [Activity is publicly available through a web crawler capture on]

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$1 - $5 per student

Age Range:
Ages 6 - 18

Resource Types:
Activity, Lesson/Lesson Plan


Materials List (per student)

  • 1 Cardboard tube
  • 2 Pieces of string, each about 4 in. long
  • 2 Beads
  • Material for handle
  • Plastic shrink wrap (found in the window weatherization section of the hardware store)
  • Hair dryer
  • Tape, double-sided
  • Saw
  • Drill
  • Decorations


  • Engineering and Technology
    • Engineering
  • Life Sciences
    • Human Senses and Perception
      • Hearing
  • Physical Sciences
    • Vibration and Waves
      • 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


  • Watsonville Environmental Science Workshop


  • All rights reserved, Watsonville Environmental Science Workshop, 2011