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In this activity, learners construct a traditional handicraft toy that illustrates a motion commonly associated with violins and earthquakes. This motion has a certain frequency and stays at the same frequency throughout the movement. Learners also observe the force of gravity, which powers the woodpecker down the stick. Note: a drill is used in this activity, and is not included in the cost of materials. [Activity is publicly available through a web crawler capture on Archive.org.]

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
45 to 60 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$1 - $5 per student

Age Range:
Ages 6 - 11

Resource Types:
Activity, Lesson/Lesson Plan


Materials List (per student)

  • 1 dowel
  • 1 baseboard
  • 1 small, narrow block
  • 1 bobby pin
  • 1 round clothespin
  • 1 counterweight (like a large bolt)
  • decorations for bird
  • glue gun (or tape)
  • drill
  • hammer


  • Earth and Space Science
    • Earth Processes
      • Earthquakes
      • Volcanoes and Plate Tectonics
  • Engineering and Technology
    • Engineering
  • Physical Sciences
    • Energy
    • Motion and Forces
      • Gravity
    • Vibration and Waves
      • Wave Properties
      • Wave Motion
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Conducting Investigations

Informal Categories

  • Animals
  • Arts and Crafts
  • Music
  • Nature and Environment
  • Toys


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • 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


  • Watsonville Environmental Science Workshop


  • All rights reserved, Watsonville Environmental Science Workshop, 2011

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