On Tuesday, March 26th, members of ASA participated in The Penns Valley Elementary and Intermediate school STEAM Night at the PVEI campus in Spring Mills, PA, where we made popsicle stick harmonicas with the students! This outreach idea is based on the concept of tension and its relation to frequency. The harmonica is made of popsicle sticks, rubber bands, and folded pieces of paper. As the pieces of paper are moved up and down the harmonica, it changes the tension in the rubber bands, which changes the frequency that is played by the harmonica. This turned out to be a good opportunity to interactively show kids the relationship between tension (“tightness”) and frequency (“notes”). It will also help encourage long-term learning as the kids can take home the harmonicas and continue to experiment with them even without us there to guide them.

Other activities at this outreach event included hitting boomwhackers (plastic tubes tuned to a musical pitch based on length) and wearing confuse-o-phones (which redirects sound traveling towards one ear into the opposite ear). We also brought our wearable sound level meter hat that the kids could play their harmonica into to see how much noise they were generating. Overall, the outreach event was very successful, with dozens of kids leaving blowing their popsicle stick harmonicas to their hearts’ content!