Music is a fascinating blend of physical vibrations, basic counting, complicated mathematical patterns and rules complete with a whole lot of creativity and humanity thrown in. Because of this, it’s the perfect medium for early learners to explore the scientific process. Below are three STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) experiments for kids in different age ranges.
- Hypothesis: An educated guess, or a guess you make based on the information you already know.
- Variable: Any factor that can change in a scientific experiment.
- Scientific Method: A process where a question is asked, a hypothesis is created, and the hypothesis is tested through a controlled experiment to see if it is accurate.
STEAM for Babies and Toddlers
At this young age, every moment of a baby’s day is a science experiment. Every movement they make tells them about the world around them. They are constantly involved in the scientific process as they investigate their world and the impacts that their actions have on the people, places, and things around them.
One of our favorite ways for young ones to explore and experiment with music and sound is the classic found-item drum circle. Set your little one up with some spatula “drumsticks” and different bangable objects from around your house – pots and bowls, empty containers, small pillows, a big hollow toy, etc. As they’re happily banging away, they’ll be experimenting with so many of the fundamentals of music-making. Feel free to join them on the floor and explore these questions with them:
- Dynamics: What happens if you hit something hard versus something soft?
- Timbre: How does the metal pot sound different than the pillow?
- Tempo: What do slow sounds sound like versus fast sounds?
STEAM for Preschool – Elementary
Homemade water xylophones allow kids to hear and see the science of sound in action. Follow this easy tutorial to create your own water xylophone at home. Engage your kids in the scientific process by following these steps:
- Create your hypothesis: What will happen to the sound when different amounts of water are added to each glass.
- Make the water xylophones Depending on the age of your child(ren), let them take the lead on filling each glass with different amounts of water. It’s a great motor skill activity. Now they can test their hypothesis by playing their xylophones.
- Have them evaluate their hypothesis: was it correct or incorrect?
- Have some fun testing even more variables:
- What happens if you tap the glasses with a plastic knife versus a metal knife or another item?
- Does tapping on different parts of the glass change the sound?
- Does it sound different filled with a different liquid? What about if it’s filled with cotton balls?
- Have some fun changing the water levels and see if you can play a song.
STEAM for Elementary – Early Middle School
Time to nail down the scientific process a little bit further using this guided activity packet. You can download the packet and print the worksheet from it or access the printable worksheet directly here.
Wrap up your scientific exploration with this playlist full of science-inspired music.