Sounds Like Science: Kazoo
Unmixed Messages - Strategies for Equitable Science Education

Main Idea

Energy is needed to produce sound. Identifying where the energy comes from makes it possible for us to control the amount of energy we exert, and thereby control the type of sound produced.


The force we use when making sounds is made possible by some type of energy. For example, when we are drumming, the force that causes the vibration is the striking motion. The energy that produces the force comes from the drummer. This process is called an energy transfer.

Learning Objectives


1 & 1/2 hours, including design time.

Introducing the Concept

Have the students tap on the drums they made in the first “Sounds Like Science” activity. Talk to them about the force behind the sound. You might even demonstrate, if you have a drum of your own. Next, introduce the idea of the energy that creates force. Ask where the energy is coming from. Once students have grasped the concept, talk about energy transfer and how they have transformed the energy in their bodies into sound.



  1. Cut off a small piece of wax paper the same length as the comb.
  2. Holding the comb teeth side down, fold the paper over the comb so that it covers both sides.
  3. Hold the wax paper against the sides of the comb, but loosely enough so that the paper will be able to vibrate freely.
  4. Place the side of the comb to your mouth so that the paper is between your lips and the comb. Hum or sing against the paper and comb. You can adjust your lips or the volume of your humming to alter the amplified sound. Try the same activity with other kinds of paper.


Teaching Tips

Science All Around Us


Sounds Like Science - Drums

Sounds Like Science - Guitars

Sounds Like Science - Bottle Organ

Sounds Like Science - Jamboree

Association for the Promotion and Advancement of Science Education
APASE - Promoting Science Education

This activity copied from APASE of Vancouver, Canada, which has regrettably disappeared from the Web.
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