Students learn to ‘toot their own horns’

photo or infographic by Emily Meachen
MEASURE TWICE, CUT ONCE. Looking to his teacher Ray DuFour, freshman Michael Newmann holds the pipe as his classmate, freshman Evaristo Nabarrete cuts to make his flute.

The resonant sound of a whistle sounds as class begins for the IPC Integrated Physics and Chemistry classes. The pipes are by the desk in five-gallon buckets, and the googles, saws and files are ready for the students to transform common plumbing materials into musical instruments. It is lab day. Time to take abstract science concepts and make them a hands on activity. 

“We are learning about sound energy, wind energy and how to measure the vibrations of sound,” science teacher Ray DuFour said.“The lab was making whistles/flutes out of PVC to study sound, wind energy, and measurements.”

The class started out with pieces of PVC pipe. They strapped on goggles to make the cut with a hacksaw. 

“We wear google to protect our eyes,” sophomore Luke Menick said. 

Some of the students have never worked with tools like the hacksaw and files. Other students have learned skills like this at home. 

“I have used tools like this at my uncle’s house,” freshman Michael Newmann said. “We made a tire swing.”

The skills learned in the lab will help the students in other classes as well.

“I like to learn like this,” freshman Evaristo Nabarrette said. “My dad taught me how to use tools like this. I want to be in construction trades and work with my dad when I get older.”

The lab made a small mess, but the lessons learned were large when the kids were able to walk around the room, playing their flutes and testing the science concepts they were learning about. 

“It is a bit messy, as it is a new skill, but we are going to have fun, “ DuFour said. “We do like to toot our own horns.”