Make a sound cone to hear sounds your ears alone can't hear!

Sometimes, we can't hear sounds coming from very far away. But there are tools that can help us!

Here's how to make your own sound cone that helps to hear sounds your ears alone can't hear.

You need:

A piece of construction paper (about A3 size)

Some tape

Analog alarm clock 

Step by step:

1) Roll the construction paper into the shape of a cone. Leave a small hole of about 1 inch in diameter at the pointed end. The wider end should be as wide as possible.

2) Tape into position.

3) Bring the sound cone out and listen to sounds from all directions. What do you notice?

4) Get a sibling or friend to hold an analog alarm clock from about 3 metres away. Can you hear the clock ticking?


Like waves in the ocean, sound makes waves in the air. Your sound cone acts as a sound funnel that helps to direct the sound waves to a single point.  

NASA's giant dish antennas work in a similar way. These antennas listen for signals from the planetary spacecraft now exploring space far from Earth.

Once the radio signals hit the dish, their path follows that of a folded up cone. Once the signal hits the focus (like the small end of your cone), electronic instruments take over to turn up the volume even more.

Cassegrain antenna signal path.
Credit: NASA


Remember to check out the other fun extension activities for the Space Exploration Box!