Campus & Community

The sounds of science — ExperiMentors bring physics to life

2 min read
Andrea Kurtz ’01 explains the nature of sound waves and the meaning of frequency to an audience of schoolchildren from Cambridge.

More than 200 local schoolchildren became scientists for a day last Friday, May 12, when they celebrated the ExperiMentors’ Science Day at the Science Center.

A volunteer science mentoring program run by Harvard undergraduates, ExperiMentors teaches hands-on science to Cambridge elementary school students through weekly interactive lessons. Science Day brings the children to Harvard for a day of lessons and experiments.

In keeping with this year’s theme, the Physics of Sound, the children learned how sound is generated, how the ear functions, and how it is constantly a part of everyday life. Using music as a teaching tool, the 25 ExperiMentor volunteers showed the children how to make their own maracas, kazoos, string “beams,” Peruvian pipes, banjos and guitars to see how vibrations, frequency, and wavelength can be manipulated to make different sounds.

Tom Xu, 7, of the Peabody School in Cambridge, pays rapt attention to an experiment demonstrating the physics of sound at the Science Center last Friday.

Harvard musicians ended the day with musical demonstrations of the flute, the didgeridoo (an Australian Aboriginal pipe), and conch shell, as well as an a cappella performance by the Harvard Veritones.