Sing! Crack! Smash! Breaking Glass!

Seoul campus fourth graders Andrew and Steve watched their music teacher, Laura Sterner, demonstrate the science of matching two tones.


In science class, fourth grade students experienced a rare occurrence. Our music teacher Ms. Sterner shattered a wine glass! This event occurs when voice vibration and the tone of the glass matches for a long time. First, Ms. Sterner tapped the glass and waited. Riiing. The soft ringing noise told Ms. Sterner how to sing.

All students listened with attentive ears to the tone the glass made. Then Ms. Sterner matched the tone and sang very loudly. AhhAAAHH! All the students covered their ears and watched with eagerness, waiting for the glass to break. She had to sing close to the cup, and loudly, for a while.

You can tell if your voice matches the glass’ tone because, one, you listen to both tones, and two, after you stop singing you can hear the cup echoing the noise. Riiing. Another soft noise. At first all students thought it was hopeless, but some still believed, believed in the noise.

Also in the cup was a straw that moved around when the tones matched. Smack, smack, smack – the straw went back and forth. The reason for the straw was so we could see how the vibrations moved the straw from left to right. The straw let Ms. Sterner know she matched the glass’ tone.

This was not Ms. Sterner’s first time breaking a glass with her voice. She did this three times and every time the students cheered and clapped, excitement in their eyes. Unfortunately one time the glass didn’t break, but the other times it did. This was a fun experiment. Who doesn’t want to experience singing, cracking, and smashing in real life?

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