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The Toothpick Charmer

In & Outdoor Free
Light & Sound

Activity Overview

You may have heard of a snake charmer, but how about trying your hand at becoming a toothpick charmer? Young scientists and magicians alike will enjoy this experiment about vibration and sound waves. Watch your toothpick very closely as it comes to life right before your eyes. Onlookers will be left wondering if you have telekinetic powers.

Materials Needed

  • Two identical wine glasses
  • water
  • toothpicks

How To Do It

  1. Fill each wine glass equally half full with water.
  2. Position the wine glasses close together but not touching.
  3. Dip your pointer finger into the water . Holding of one of the glasses with your dry hand, move the finger while pressing down lightly around the glass over and over until you hear a musical tone.
  4. Place a toothpick across the side rim of the other wine glass.
  5. Repeat step 3 on the same wine glass that you used earlier.
  6. Keep your eye on the toothpick. The sound waves that you make when you make music on the rim of the glass move the toothpick.
  7. As an added tip, have fun experimenting with varying the amount of water in each glass without the toothpick. Enjoy learning about how the tone of the notes change with the different amounts of water in the glasses.

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