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Engineered Music

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Lesson Focus 
Lesson focuses on the engineering behind the design of musical instruments. Teams of students explore the engineering behind recorder manufacturing, and then design, construct, test, and evaluate a working musical instrument using easily found materials.
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Lesson Synopsis 
The Engineered Music lesson explores how musical instruments are engineered. Students explore how mass manufacturing impacted the recorder, and then work in teams to design their own musical instrument using easy to find materials. Student teams first design their instrument on paper, then build their instrument, and evaluate the strategies employed all student teams. The new instrument must be "tunable" and must also be unique from other instruments. Students will also consider the concept of patents and intellectual property.

Age Levels:


  • Learn about engineering design.
  • Learn about planning and construction.
  • Learn about teamwork and working in groups.
Anticipated Learner Outcomes 

As a result of this activity, students should develop an understanding of:

  • structural engineering and design
  • problem solving
  • teamwork

Lesson Activities

Students learn how musical instrument have been designed throughout history, and then work in teams to develop a design for their own instrument using everyday items. Teams plan their instrument, execute construction, test, troubleshoot, evaluate their own work and that of other students, and present to the class.


  • Teacher Resource Documents (attached)
  • Student Worksheets (attached)
  • Student Resource Sheets (attached)

Alignment to Curriculum Frameworks

Curriculum alignment sheet is included in PDF.

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