Bee Hummer

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In this activity, learners investigate sound and vibration by making a "bee hummer"--a toy that sounds like a swarm of buzzing bees when you spin it around. The activity includes three short online videos: Introduction, Step-by-Step Instructions, and What's Going On. Also available: a concept map and a "Going Further" document that suggests variations on this activity.

Quick Guide

  • Preparation Time: 10 to 30 minutes
  • Learning Time: 10 to 30 minutes
  • Estimated materials cost: 1 cent - $1 per student
  • Age Range: Ages 8 - 14
  • Resource Type: Activity
  • Language: English

Materials List (per student)

  • popsicle stick
  • string
  • wide rubber band (about 1/4 inch wide)
  • index card
  • cap eraser (the kind that fits on the end of a pencil)
  • scissors
  • stapler (strong enough to staple paper to a popsicle stick)

Informal Categories

  • Music
  • Toys


  • Physical Sciences
    • Vibration and Waves
      • Sound

To use this activity learners need to

  • hear
  • touch

Learning styles supported

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities

Components that are part of this resource


The Exploratorium

Source Collection

  • Science After School Consumer's Guide


All Rights Reserved, The Exploratorium, ©2007

Funding sources

  • National Science Foundation



A tweak

Try changing the tension of one side of the rubber band. Make it tighter to hear a higher pitched bee!

Easy, quick and fun

This activity was quick to make and really fun. The instructions and videos provided by the Exploratorium were very helpful.

I made two Bee Hummers, one that followed the directions provided by the Exploratorium by the book. For the other Bee Hummer, I used sliced cork instead of erasers and taped the index card securely to the craft stick. The tape held up and is a good option if you don't have a stapler or don't want kids to use a stapler. The sliced cork works well and seems to make more noise than the cap erasers, but is more difficult to cut and attach to the ends of the craft sticks.

I also discovered that if you swing the Bee Hummer for too long, the string can chafe your hands. Perhaps the Bee Hummer should only be played in moderation...