PrintLab Classroom: Explore Sound Waves by Designing Your Own Whistle

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Designing Your Own Whistle


A lesson where students explore sound waves by designing a functional whistle


* This lesson is part of the PrintLab Classroom lesson portal. To purchase one-year access to 3D printing lesson plan portal, click here. *


* NWA3D recommends that you only use the whistle for one day. FDM 3D printers (like the ones that we sell) print models by layering plastic together layer by layer. The chemistry behind the layering process leaves microscopic holes in which bacteria can thrive, even if the filament is labeled "food safe." Have fun with this project, but be careful! Check out our food safe blog post for more information. *



In this four-lesson project, students will embark on a design journey to create their own functional 3D-printed whistle. Lesson 1 begins with a presentation and discussion about sound waves, frequency, and amplitude. The class will then go through a 3D-modeling tutorial in Tinkercad to design and 3D print a whistle. The design tutorial will give students the necessary CAD skills to create their own unique whistle designs in the next part of the project. In Lessons 2 and 3, students use research and sketching methods before they 3D model and 3D print their own whistle. In the final lesson, students will test their whistles, analyze their designs, and consider any improvements. Enrolling in PrintLab Classroom will give you complete access to the teacher training material and lesson documents. This includes content to help you prepare and deliver the lessons along with design tutorials so you become familiar with the process prior to teaching it in the classroom.


Subject Areas

The lesson can be incorporated into the study of physics, music, math, technology, and can be adapted for ages 8-16.


Learning Criteria
In this project students will:
- Develop their basic understanding of sound waves, frequency, and amplitude
- Understand and discuss the functional design of a whistle
- Analyze a variety of oscilloscope sound wave readings
- Use various research methods to provide them with ideas to incorporate into their whistle design
- Use sketching techniques to design concepts of their whistle
- Use CAD software to design a functional whistle
- Develop an understanding of 3D printers and how they operate
- Manufacture a functional whistle through 3D printing
Equipment List
Each student will require:
1 x laptop/computer with mouse and internet access
1 x pen/pencil
The teacher will require:
1 x large format screen
1 x 3D printer and PLA filament
1 x laptop/computer with mouse, internet access, and slicing software for the 3D printer
1 x frequency/amplitude measurement tool e.g. sound level meter

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