String telephone science project

Written by kimberly turtenwald
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String telephone science project
Some students question whether string telephones really work. (Hemera Technologies/ Images)

String telephones are easy to make and allow you to hear what another person says from across the room. However, some people do not understand how this could possibly work. Students who choose to do a science project on string telephones can help their classmates understand how they work and crush any scepticism at the same time.

Required Materials

When string telephones were made years ago, tin cans were more commonly used. However, you can make a string telephone with plastic or paper cups. These types of cups are also easier to poke a hole into than a tin can. For this project, you will also need a long piece of string and paper clips to hold the string into each cup. The length of the string should be between 6 and 20 feet long. You can make phones of different lengths and make observations about their functionality as part of the experiment as well.


To make a string telephone, poke a hole into the bottom centre of each cup. Use a sharp pencil or a push pin. The hole should not be too large -- just big enough to thread the string through. Thread the string through each hole and tie the string to a paper clip on the inside of the cup. This keeps the string from falling back through. You can also tie knots into the end of the string if you do not have paper clips. The string telephone is now ready to use.


Before you begin the experiment, you will need to determine what questions you are looking to answer. The biggest question for this experiment is whether the string telephone will actually work. You will also want to observe the success of the phone based on how the cups are held, how taut the string is and how different lengths of string affect the telephone. Keep these questions in mind while you work through the experiment.


After you have established the questions you would like to answer, choose a partner to try out the phone. To start, you should stand as far apart as the string allows, stretching it tightly between you and your partner. One of you should speak softly into her cup and the other person should hold his cup to his ear. Ask your partner to tell you what was said to determine the success of the telephone. Alter the variables, such as string length and tightness, and observe the results.

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