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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

Tre, age 14 of Jefferson City, MO wrote:
We adjusted the water levels in the glasses so there wasn't a big difference in the levels. After that my sister tried playing "Mary had a Little Lamb" and it worked! The pitch was off, but it worked!

Aaron, age 7 of Jefferson City, MO wrote:
My sister and I tried to make different sounds. We leveled the water so each glass had different amounts of water.

Roslyn, age 13 of Jefferson City, MO wrote:
Well when we did the experiment the sounds were a little off, but we managed to play Mary Had A Little Lamb. This experiment was very interesting. I liked it.

Nicki, age 11 of Jefferson, MO wrote:
The glasses made different noises when my sister played "Marry Had A Little Lamb" because of the different amounts of water in each of the equally sized glasses. But it also made a difference if she hit the part of the glass with the water or if it was the top part where it was empty.

Hunter, age 12 of Austin, TX wrote:
This was a great project for my sound device that was assigned from school. After a while of playing and adjusting it, I got a pretty fair octave out of it which meets the requirements for the project from school. It's really cool and you should try it out if you haven't already

Meredith, age 11 of Lebanon, PA wrote:
I;m doing a science fair report and I thought it would be a good idea to use the same glasses, but different liquids. Some of the liquids sounded different, but most of them sounded the same. I read the other kids responses and it says the exact opposite of what they said it does. Why is that?

Ayumi, age 13 of Tokyo, Japan wrote:
I filled the glasses with different amounts of water, but it took about 3/4 of the water it takes to fill the glass to go down a note, so my lowest note was almost overflowing and my highest note was an empty glass but still too low. When I used a smaller glass for the highest note, it worked ^-^

Demetrius, age 11 of Cincinnati, OH wrote:
it made diffrent sounds

Zack, age 11 of Dallas, TX wrote:
it made different sounds and I played the music mary had a little land

Helen, age 11 of Wichita, KS wrote:
The first time I did it I hit the bottle to hard and it burst. The next time, I was playing a melody that was really lovley.

Kelsi, age 12 of Chicago, IL wrote:
Well I tried this experiment with water, milk, orange juice, and Diet Pepsi. Diet Pepsi sounded the highest and Water sounded the lowest.

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!

not yet implemented