Sound energy design challenge (Grade 1)

Grade: One

Topic: Understanding matter and energy, energy in our lives

Design challenge:


Teachers and students work collaboratively to identify an environmental challenge regarding the use of cardboard and plastic. The group will then collaborate on a solution by suggesting ways to make an instrument from plastic bottles and/or cardboard tubes. From there the teacher will narrow down the choices to the type and number suited to the group's capabilities. In this case the focus will be on reusing small plastic bottles, and cardboard tubes to make maracas/shakers.

OCTE 2012 – Elementary Conference Workshops

cardboard tube maracas


  • CSA approved safety glasses/goggles, one pair per person (parent volunteers included)
  • a first aid kit (please see your Board's Health and Safety Regulations if one is being purchased for your classroom)
  • scissors, minimum one pair for every 2 projects (students may supply their own)
  • two or three funnels per class (opening should fit a water bottle top),
  • small scoops or measuring cups for transferring materials into the funnel.


  • send home a note in advance of this activity asking caregivers to collect and send in items from the list below
  • found items such as the following;
    • 1 per project, small plastic bottles (rinsed, dried, and with caps), OR paper roll tubes, 1 per project,
    • empty snack bags, washed, to cap the end of the tube (e.g., chips, cheezies etc.), one per project.
  • if using paper roll tubes for construction you will need the following,
    • two elastic bands per project, to hold the chip bag pieces in place over the ends (helps with the taping);
    • 18" (45 cm) of tape per project (e.g., masking tape, Scotch tape, electric tape, etc.)
  • if using a plastic bottle, 6" (15 cm) of tape is needed to secure the cap in place;
  • any combination of clean sand, rice, or popcorn kernels works best; however, other dried vegetables (lentils, beans, etc.) will work as well; about 4 tablespoons, or 1/4 cup is needed per shaker; however, you can experiment with the quantities.