These resources have been reviewed and selected by STEM Learning’s team of education specialists for factual accuracy and relevance to teaching STEM subjects in UK schools.

Measuring the speed of sound using toilet rolls

This video and worksheet set out a measurement challenge that can be carried out at home or in school.  Students must use a laptop, tablet or phone, and a set of in ear headphones to carry out the experiment.  They also use a tube, in this example some stacked toilet rolls.  By using destructive interference of the sound waves, students can take measurements of the wavelength of the sound, and use the wave equation to calculate the speed of sound inside the tube.   The students are encouraged to upload their results to the NPL website.

This resource links to sound waves, the wave equation, frequency and wavelength, constructive and destructive interference and standing waves.

The report file looks at measurements taken by NPL and draws some conclusions.

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