The Science of Instruments Family Focus-Evanston

The objective of this activity is to engage students into thinking about the design of a wind instrument and how if affects the overall productivity of the device.


What is a wind instrument? What makes a wind instrument work? How does it look?

During the brainstorming phase, students should be asked questions to guide them into thinking about the design of their instrument. It is necessary to provide examples of several wind instruments in order to allow the students to decide which one will by more sufficient. It is necessary that at the end of the brainstorming phase, all students in the class have agreed on which design they should create. This allows for friendly competition and a controlled experiment. Examples of wind instruments include; flute, piccolo, xun, ocarina, etc.


What does your perfect flute look like?

In the portion, students begin designing their perfect flute. Have the students sketch what a perfect flute will look like. The sketch must be labeled with specific measurements. To further their thought process ask the students "Why?" questions. This will allow them to give value to what they are doing. Once the sketch is completed, use Tinkercad to develop a 3D blueprint. This gives the students a more defined look at their product. From there, give the students PlayDoh to create a test mold. PlayDoh is not the same clay used to make the instruments, but will help the students mold and craft their ceramic instruments.


After the ceramic clay has been fired, students will test their flutes. Does their instrument work? How clear is the sound? Can it hit one note? Three? Four?

REDESIGN/Share solutions

The students will go through the design process one more time to strengthen their models. The goal here is to have your students be able to pinpoint their mistakes and discuss how they could have been better. Share the solutions out loud and give feedback.

multiple intelligences

Musical: We are making a musical instrument. Visual-Spacial: The design process involves a lot of drawing, 3D modeling, etc. Bodily-Kinesthetic: Playing with the clay and creating the molds. Logical-Mathematical: The design process involves math. (e.g. if a kiln shrinks the clay by 20%, how big should the holes be?). Verbal-Linguistic: Discussion. Interpersonal & Intrapersonal: Can be done as a group project or as an individual.

Original draft for the experiment.


Created with images by the3cats - "flute musical instrument silver plated" • Wokandapix - "blueprint ruler architecture"

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