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By Audra D.

Special shout out to EVPL McCollough VolunTeen Lincoln who helped put together this Simple Science!

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It’s impossible to go outside in the summer without noticing the buzzing of many different insects. This simple science experiment replicates the noise that flies and bees make when they fly. This spinning noise maker can be made with just a few household craft objects. Use this experiment to investigate the concepts of vibration and sound. Be sure to talk together about the science behind why this experiment works and don’t be afraid to explore! Check out these titles on Hoopla to learn more: Bees, Understanding Insects, and The Simple Science of Sound.

Materials needed

  • 2 plain index cards
  • 1 large popsicle/craft stick 
  • 1 rubber band 
  • 1 long piece of thin string 
  • 1 piece of craft foam 
  • Scissors, tape, and markers

Instructions

  1. Start by decorating one side of each index card. You can decorate them with the same pattern or make them different designs. 
  2. Tape an index card to each side of your large craft stick. Make sure your designs face out. 
  3. Cut two strips of craft foam that are the width of your craft stick and about 4 inches long. 
  4. Fold one piece of the foam in half then fold it over again. Tape this over one end of the craft stick and index cards. Repeat this process on the other side so both sides match.  
  5. Cut a piece of string to be roughly 2 feet long. Tie this string to one end of the craft stick with a simple knot. Give your contraption a spin to make sure the string will stay in place. 
  6. Stretch your rubber band lengthwise over the craft stick and the foam. Make sure your string is free from the rubber band. 
  7. Give your new noise maker a spin by holding the end of the string!

Questions to ask

  • Does the length of the string affect the sound your noise maker produces? Try replicating the experiment with a shorter or longer string to find out. 
  • Will the noise maker work with just one index card? Try taking one card off and give it a spin. 
  • Will the noise maker work with no rubber band? Will it work with more than one rubber band? Try experimenting with different numbers of rubber bands to see how the sound changes.

How it works

Your spinning noise maker demonstrates how many bugs’ wings make noise when they fly. When you spin your noise maker, the rubber band vibrates against the wooden craft stick. These vibrations create waves in the air. These waves reach your eardrums, and your brain recognizes the vibrations as sound. Many insects such as bees and flies create these vibrations when they flap their wings to fly. Bees can flap their wings up to 230 times per second. These rapid vibrations create the familiar buzzing noise your spinning noise maker replicates.

Audra D.
Adult & Teen Librarian

Audra D.


With 8 locations throughout Vanderburgh County, EVPL is ready to discover, explore, and connect WITH you! We encourage you to uncover new things, revisit old favorites, and to engage with us along the way.

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