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Ringing Fork Experiment

Activity Overview

Budding scientists of all ages can easily perform this science experiment which explores vibration. Keep the children busy while you cook dinner with this quick and easy test of science.

When the fork comes in contact with an object , it vibrates. The air around the fork also vibrates which causes the clank that you heard when you first bumped the fork. When you add the thread to the mix, the thread will also vibrate, so when you bring the thread to your ears you can hear the sound of the vibrating fork more clearly, producing a sound similar to a chime.

Materials Needed

  • A fork
  • A piece of thread about arms length
  • Scissors

How to Do It

  1. Cut a piece of thread that is approximately arm's length.
  2. Tie the middle of the thread to the handle of a fork.
  3. Gently wrap each thread end around each of your index fingers.
  4. Knock the fork on the edge of the counter or the table. Describe the sound that you hear.
  5. Now, touch your index fingers to the protrusion of skin just in front of your ear hole with the fork dangling on the string in front of you without touching anything.
  6. Now, clank the fork against the same area again and describe what you hear.

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