Skip to content

Please check our Hours & Admission page for changes to our operating hours.


Summer of Science Activity Series: Sound on a String

Welcome to the first installment of our Summer of Science activity series! We’re issuing a challenge to make your family’s summer the best one yet – by making it a Summer of Science. To help make it a science-filled summer, we’ll post a new science activity on our blog weekly, from June 11 to August 6. Give each activity we post a try and take a photo of what you create – or whatever you discover in the process! For each photo you post and tag #CuriOdysseySummerSci on Flickr or Twitter, you’ll be entered into a drawing for CuriOdyssey passes.


For our very first Summer of Science activity, you’ll create your own sound on a string to experiment with how sound travels through all kinds of objects.

You’ll need:
Miscellaneous metal objects (different sizes and shapes – silverware, kitchen utensils, tools)
About 1 yard of string per object

What to do:

Tie a small loop (large enough to put a finger through) in each end of the string.
Tie a metal object to the center of each string.
Place one loop on each index finger.
Put your fingers in your ears.
Lean forward slightly so that the metal object hangs freely.
Have another person strike the metal object with something hard, or lean forward to make the suspended object strike a table.

What happens if you…
Strike the metal object against a different kind of surface?
Make the string longer? Or shorter?
Try a differently shaped metal object?
Strike the metal object against a surface more rapidly?
What do you hear? Let us know in the comments section!

What’s happening here?
Vibration is transmitted up the string and directly into your ear. This direct path makes the sound much louder and clearer than normal because the sound does not dissipate in the surrounding air.

Tag your photos on Flickr or Twitter with #CuriOdysseySummerSci and you’ll be entered into a drawing for a chance to win CuriOdyssey passes. The more photos you post, the more times you’ll be entered! We want to see what you discovered — which kinds of objects you used and which surfaces you tested it against.

Be sure to check back next week for a new Summer of Science activity. See you then!

– The CuriOdyssey Team

Join the CuriOdyssey Community


1651 Coyote Point Drive
San Mateo, CA 94401
Ohlone Land Acknowledgement
[email protected]

CuriOdyssey is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, Tax ID 94-1262434

Accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. The gold standard for animal care and welfare.
ASTC Member. Association of Science and Technology Centers.
Scroll To Top