Package 2 - Year 1 & 2 Science - Light and Sound

Join the scientists from Fizzics Education to learn about all about light and sound. Watch the video and then complete some of your own light and sound experiments at home.

Week 5 - Package 2 - Year 1 & 2 Science - Light and Sound

Things your child will need

Have these things available so your child can complete this task.


  • Light and Sound video

  • Several drinking glasses or mugs that are the same shape and size (make sure they are not fragile as they will be hit to make sound)

  • Water

  • Metal spoon

  • Towel

  • Activity sheets found below

Optional: extension activity

  • Paper

  • Cardboard

  • Skewer or chopstick

  • Crayons or textas

  • Sticky tape

  • Glue

  • Scissors

Before your child starts

Any experiments involving water should be done away from electronic devices.

What your child needs to do

  1. Watch the Light and Sound video.

  2. Discuss how sound is made by vibration.

  3. Follow instructions on Activity Sheet 1: Water Xylophone (below).

  4. Discuss the results of the activity. What problems did you have (if any)? Which cup made the highest tone? Which made the lowest? Were you able to make music with your water xylophone?

What your child can do next

Looking for more science experiments? Follow the instructions on Extension Activity: Newton’s Colour Wheel (below).

Discuss the colours that make up white light, and how we are able to see colours. Did your colour wheel spin? Can you think of other times that your brain mixes colours together?

Options for your child

Activity too hard?

Try Activity 1: Water Xylophone using only an empty glass and a full glass. Do they sound different? How?

Activity too easy?

Can you tune the water xylophone so that each glass is a separate musical note? You can use tuners (available online) or download apps for your devices that allow you to tune instruments. You can repeat the activity near a tuner or the microphone of your device and see what note it produces. If the note is off-pitch, how could you correct it? Can you play music with your water xylophone?

To play most nursery rhymes you need to have at least five or six notes: C, D, E, F, G and A. You can find simple sheet music for a song at the end of this document.

Extension/Additional activity

  • Investigate how musical instruments make vibrations in different ways to produce sound.

  • Try out Extension Activity: Newton’s Colour Wheel (see below).

  • Meet the Fizzics Education team.

Activity sheet 1: Water Xylophone

Sound is created by vibrations. When we tap a glass with a spoon it will cause a vibration. The vibration then travels from the glass, through the air, to your ears and makes a sound that you can hear!


  • Several drinking glasses or mugs that are the same shape and size (make sure they are not fragile as they will be hit to make sound)

  • Water

  • Metal spoon


  1. Grab a drinking glass or a mug (glasses work better but are easier to break).

  2. Gently tap the glass/mug with your spoon once and listen to the sound it makes.

  3. Add some water to the cup and tap it again.

  4. Repeat step 3, adding a little more water each time and tapping to listen out for sound changes.

  5. Repeat the experiment but this time use multiple glasses/mugs, each with a different amount of water. Try with at least 3 glasses/mugs, we recommend 5!

Does the sound change as you add more water? Can you make lots of different notes with multiple glasses?

When we put different amounts of water in each glass, there are different amounts of stuff to vibrate when the spoon taps on the glass. When the vibration changes, the sound also changes. This is how we can create different notes with the water xylophone!

NOTE - Glasses/mugs can be fragile and can break when hit, please choose glasses/mugs that aren’t too fragile and tap them very gently.

Extension activity: Newton’s colour wheel

A Newton’s colour wheel is a toy that works by tricking our brain and eyes. When the colour wheel spins really quickly, the colours appear to merge into one!


  • Paper

  • Cardboard

  • Skewer or chopstick

  • Crayons or textas

  • Sticky tape

  • Glue

  • Scissors


  1. Print the template page with circles, or draw a circle on blank paper by tracing around a bowl or mug and mark with 8 sections.

  2. Colour in the slices of the circle, one colour for each slice (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet) and leave one white.

  3. Carefully cut out the circle with scissors.

  4. Put the circle on the cardboard and trace around it with a texta. This will give you a cardboard circle the same size as your paper circle. Cut out the cardboard circle.

  5. Glue or tape the coloured circle to the cardboard circle, coloured side facing up.

  6. Ask an adult to make a hole in the centre of your colour wheel, so that the skewer will just fit through (using the tip of the scissors, be careful of your fingers!).

  7. With the coloured side of the wheel facing you, push the pointy end of the skewer through the hole until about 2 cm of it is sticking out from the other side.

  8. Wrap sticky tape around the skewer both above and below the wheel so that it stays in place.

  9. Spin your colour wheel like a top and watch what happens to the colours!

  10. Repeat the experiment with different colours or patterns drawn on your paper circle. We recommend a big spiral!

Did you see the colours change when your colour wheel started to spin? Does it make a difference if you change what colours you used?

Our brain and eyes can be tricked if images or colours move fast, and they will combine them together. White light is made up of all the colours of the rainbow, so when your eyes mix up those colours, we see a colour that’s almost white!

NOTE - If you are finding it hard to spin your top, ask an adult to cut the skewer a little bit shorter.

Nursery rhyme musical notes

For these nursery rhymes to work best you should have 6 cups with water tuned as close as you can to the notes C, D, E, F, G, and A. Place the cups in a row with the notes in order. To help remember which glass is which musical note, write the note letter on a small piece of paper and place it in front of each cup.

Twinkle twinkle little star

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