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Star Wars Slinky Sounds! science experiment : Fizzics Education

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Star Wars Slinky Sounds!

Star Wars Slinky Sounds!

Follow FizzicsEd 150 Science Experiments:

You will need:

  • A styrofoam cup (plastic cups work too)
  • A metal slinky (plastic won’t do!)

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Star Wars slinky sounds science experiment - materials needed
1 Star Wars slinky sounds science experiment - threading slinky through the cup

Push the end of the metal slinky through the base of the styrofoam cup.  You can secure this further by pushing the end of the slinky through the cup again in another place to form a hook shape.

2 Star Wars slinky sounds science experiment - how to hold the cup and slinky

Hold the top of the styrofoam cup as pictured so that the metal slinky dangles downwards to the floor.

3 Star Wars slinky sounds science experiment - dangling the slinky

Gently shake the cup from side to side. You should hear the sound effects that can be similar to those heard in Star Wars! Try bouncing the metal slinky up and down on the floor to get a sharper sound.

4 Ruben tube with student
5 Teacher showing how to do an experiment outside to a group of kids.

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– Help students learn how science really works

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What is going on?

The original blaster sounds heard in the Star Wars were made by the foley artist Ben Burtt who repetitively hit the high tension wires of a radio mast with a wrench! These sound samples were then taken back to the studio to be eventually heard on the film’s soundtrack.

In the case of the metal slinky and the styrofoam cup, you’re simply transferring vibrations up the slinky into the styrofoam which also then vibrates. The metal slinky vibrates against foam and creates part of the buzz that you hear, with the rest of the sound being formed by the foam itself vibrating and the sounds echoing within the cup. The larger air space within the cup caused the sound to amplify.

Variables to test

More on variables here

  • Try a plastic slinky vis a metal slinky
  • Try a plastic cup vs a styrofoam cup.
  • Do the sounds change if you change the length of the slinky?

Learn more!

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