Education Technology

Recycled Sounds

Activity Overview

Students create a musical instrument from empty 1-liter bottles and use fractional equivalents to tune the bottles.


Students will explore the following concepts in this activity:

  • multiplication
  • division
  • measurement
  • problem solving

About the Lesson

To introduce this activity, students will fill one 2-liter bottle half-full with water and blow across the mouth of the bottle to make a sound. They will then take an empty 2-liter bottle and blow across the mouth of the bottle to make a sound. Discuss the two different pitches. Students will then use this experience to solve a new problem.

The Problem: How can an eight-note scale be made with 1-liter bottles?

Review the four problem solving steps with students:

  • Understanding the problem
  • Making a plan
  • Carrying out the plan
  • Evaluating the solution
Students will create a chart showing the amount of water in each bottle and how the amounts were calculated. Using their TI-15 calculators, students will discover what happens to a number when you multiply it by a fraction.