Sari on Science

Sound off with the lyrical tune of vibrations.

What’s that sound? Sounds waves are vibrations and while music may be invisible, it doesn’t take much to know it’s there. And you don’t need a fancy guitar or a grand piano to play a song––you can create a musical instrument at home and play it with air from your very own lungs. In this activity, explore the sounds you make with a whistle crafted from a piece of paper.

You will need:

1 paper whistle (instructions below)

1 pair of scissors

Make a paper whistle:

  • With adult supervision, draw and cut out a whistle blueprint that looks like the picture below
  • Fold along dotted lines
  • Once folded, cut the small triangle from the larger bottom fold
  • Open smaller folds like a book, and gently hold against lips with a finger on each side. Don’t press too hard or air can’t flow through easily. Purse lips and blow air into the whistle.

Try this at home!

Before you use the whistle, hypothesize! What do you think will happen when you blow into the whistle? What sounds do you think you’ll make?

When you do use it, be sure to observe what happens! What happened when you blew into the whistle? What did you do to make the sound? Why do you think it happened? Were you able to do anything that changed the sound? What happens when you blow harder or softer? Does the sound change?

If you’d like to experience more related to the science of music, get your groove on and head over to Arizona Science Center. Discover the science of soundwaves, music, and vibration! Our exhibition, “Good Vibrations: Where Science Gets Loud,” is sure to hit all the right notes. Visit to learn more.