Extreme Science: Quacker Cups - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Extreme Science

Extreme Science: Quacker Cups

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What you will need:
  1. Large Disposable drinking cup
  2. 18 inches of string. Yarn or twine works well.
  3. Cellophane tape
  4. Toothpick
  5. Nail
  6. Sponge
  7. Scissors
  8. Water
  9. Adult supervision

Procedure:

  1. Turn the cup upside down on the table. Using the nail, carefully poke a small hole in the center of the bottom of the cup.
  2. Feed one end of the string through the hole in your cup.
  3. Break the toothpick in half. Take the end of the string that is sticking out of the bottom of the cup and tie it securely onto the (half) toothpick.
  4. Pull the other end of the string (from the inside of the cup) so that the toothpick is now resting on the bottom of the cup.
  5. Place a piece of cellophane tape over the toothpick to hold it in place.
  6. Cut a small piece of sponge approximately 1 inch square. Wet sponge, squeeze out excess water.
  7. Hold the cup around the base, upside down with the string suspended. Grasp the string firmly with your wet sponge near the opening of the cup. Pull downward on the sponge causing the string to vibrate.

What is going on?

By pulling the wet sponge firmly across the string, you are causing the string to vibrate. This vibration causes the string to produce sound. Since the string is attached to the cup, this vibration now travels up the string and into the cup, which is actually acting like an amplifier making the noise a LOT louder.

Try this:

Try variations of this experiment such as different types of strings or different types of cups such as paper or plastic. You could also try different sizes of cups to see if you can produce different sounds. Does one type of string work better than others? Try pulling the sponge in short spurts and see if you can make it sound like a quacking duck.

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