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Science Rocks!

Glass Xylophone


your results

Sent in by:
Christian of Portland, OR

Play "Mary Had a Little Lamb" with this aquatic acoustic aparatus. Then download a FREE, WAY COOL gizmo, our Tunes & Spoons, and create even more H2Overtures!

Materials Needed

  • 8 drinking glasses of the same size and shape.
  • pitcher of water
  • metal spoon



  1. On a flat surface, like a table, place same sized and shaped glasses near each other but not touching.
  2. Then fill each glass with a different amount of water.
  3. With your spoon, tap on each glass. Do you hear different sounds?
  4. Then, tap on different parts of each glass. Again, what do you hear?
  5. Play around with the amounts of water in each glass until you feel like you have all the notes in "Mary Had a Little Lamb."

Now it's time for you to experiment. Think of a question you want answered. Like, what would happen to the sound if you used glasses of different shapes? What if you used a liquid like milk? Make a prediction. Then, change one thing-that's the variable-and test it out. When you're done, send your reports to our special feedback area. Be sure to tell us what you thought was going to happen and what actually did happen. Each week we'll publish a whole bunch.

Some of your Results

Malique, age 11 of Fall River, MA wrote:
I did it with 20 cups & lots of spoons thats what I call Tunes & Spoons.

Kayla, age 10 of Tobyhanna, PA wrote:
I played 3 songs with it! Mary had a Little Lamb, Row Row Row ur Boat, and Merrily we Roll Along!

Malique, age 10 of Fall River, MA wrote:
I did it with 15 cups & lots of spoons. And it was fun I can make with it.

Chris of Thiensville, WI wrote:
It made really awsome noises that made me all happy inside! Yay!

Terry, age 12 of Harvey, IL wrote:
It made cool sounds, it sounded so beautiful.

Grace, age 7 of Indianapolis, IN wrote:
It makes cool sounds because the water makes the sounds go higher or lower, depending on how much water is in the glass.

Sandra, Alana, age 9 of Portland, OR wrote:
It made wonderful sounds. They sound like wind chimes.

Tamia, age 8 of Orlando, FL wrote:
I filled lots of glasses at the same amount. And it sounded the same. But when I poured some out it sounded different!

Eann, age 8 of Waxhaw, NC wrote:
The more water I pour the less sound.

Shameelah, age 11 of Willingboro, NJ wrote:
When I did it it made diffrent types of sound like some sounds were higher and some were lower.

Aidyn, age 10 of Granby, CT wrote:
The glass with the least amount of water made the lowest sound.

Kayla, age 11 of Burton, NB wrote:
When I did this Zoomsci there was no sound! It was strange, then I tried again and then it worked.

Mikayla, age 9 of Spokane, WA wrote:
Well the smaller amount of water was higher than the bigger amount of water.

Marina, age 8 of Bellevue, WA wrote:
I added different amounts of water to the glasses and tapped them with a spoon. I heard different music notes. The glass with the most water sounded like a low note. The glass with the least amount of water sounded like a high note.

Davon, age 12 of Brooklyn, NY wrote:
Apple juice made the sounds higher.

Kate, age 7 of Mayer, MN wrote:
I used 9 glasses - 3 each of 3 different sizes filled to 3 different levels. I used lots of different spoons, too. It was fun doing it! So, I sent it to you! My favorite sound came from a plastic-coated baby spoon.

Madeline, age 10 of OH wrote:
I was so easy, since I play piano. I an curenntly working on much more diffucult songs.

Ms. A.'S Fourth Graders of WV wrote:
We arranged our glasses so that they were in a pattern of a musical scale. The glasses with less water had higher sounds and the glasses with more water had lower sounds. We played notes by tapping the glasses on the sides and near the top. Prettier tones were made when we played the tops of the glasses. We also played a medley of notes by moving spoons across the sides of the glasses gently and quickly. Two girls discoverd that if they wet their fingers and moved them rapidly around on the rim of the crystal water glasses, the glasses would emit a beautiful, melodic tone. When we all played together, we had a lovely band! Try it and see what sounds you can make with water glasses!

Joshee, age 11 of Kansas City, MO wrote:
I could play Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star and Mary had a Little Lamb.

Serena, age 6 of Mesa, AZ wrote:
Well, when I put some water in a cup... in the first cup I put lots of water and then less in the next cup and less in the next cup (and so on). Then I took the wooden spoon and put it along the glasses and it made a cool sound, When I banged one it had a pretty sound that was low. And then the other cup had a sound that was a litttle bit higher. Then the next cup had a different sound, too. The last one made a sound that I didn't \like very much, because it was too high. When I did the spoon the other way it sounded different when it was high to low.

Megan, age 10 of Delmar, NY wrote:
I used Diet coke and cranberry jouce. Cranberry jouce made a louder noice than Diet coke.

Amy, age 10 of Phoenix, AZ wrote:
When I did this expirimint it sounded like I was playing a xylophone. First I tried it with hot wter and then cold and after than I put warm water and a little bit of cooking oil. The hot water sounded cool and so did the cold water but the warm water with cooking oil sounded better. Those where my results. I would really like it if you tried it, maybe you can even try it with warm water and soda or juice or something else.

Teesha, age 11 of Roy, UT wrote:
When I needed to do an instrument for an assignment, I looked on your web site and thought it would be fun. I tried it and it worked. I got an A. Thanks a lot.

Kisha, age 13 of Hearne, TX wrote:
Well it kind of work and it made a little bit of sound and when I put the water in it it work. Thank you having a science fair project for me!!!

Devin, age 11 of Aberdeen, MD wrote:
I played mary had a little lamb on 8 cups that has 2/3 cups of water in them. What songs did you play.

Tasianique, age 12 of Birmingham, AL wrote:
Each note was very diffrent. I thought at first what was the diffrent in each sound. It was great to actually do an expermint. The glasses were also shaped diffrent. But every sound was cool. I couldn't play marry had a little lamb.

Erica, age 13 of Long Valley, NJ wrote:
I played Jingle Bells and Twinkle little star on it. It was awsome.

Christina, age 15 of Scottsdale, AZ wrote:
Itz so kool I can play jingle bells now. I can tell u the glass numbers if ou like... the numbers are...:3, 3, 3, 3, 3, 3, 3, 5, 1, 2, 5, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 3, 3, 3, 2, 2, 3, 2, 5, 3, 3, 3, 3, 3, 3, 3, 5, 1, 2, 5, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 3, 3, 5, 5, 4, 2, 1.

Laura, age 10 of Tyler, TX wrote:
It was so much fun my whole family did it together and after 1 hour we finally got all notes for mary had a little lamb!!!

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