PocketLab Voyager: Vibrating Meter Sticks and Music Boxes

Submitted by Rich on Mon, 09/11/2017 - 17:38

The physics of the sounds produced by music boxes is definitely worth studying in curricula based upon NGSS (Next Generation Science Standards).   The prongs of a metal music box comb and an oscillating meter stick that overhangs a table are both examples of cantilevers--long projecting beams that are supported only at one end.  Other common examples include many suspension bridges, beams that support balconies on high rises, diving boards, airplane wings, and flagpoles mounted to the side of a building.  The purpose of this investigation is two-fold: (a) To determine the relationship between the period of a vibrating meter stick and the overhanging length, and equate this to prongs in a music box, and (b) To determine the relationship between the period of the oscillating meter stick and the mass of a load near its free end, and consider why such “weighting” of a music box prong is useful.

Vibrating Meter Stick
Grade Level