Build a Musical Instrument

Source: Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Type: Investigation

Theme: Music

Grades: 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10

Learning Target: Student will learn how to build and tune a musical instrument to the pentatonic scale.

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For groups of two (individual is OK). Compile documentation in PowerPoint.

  1. Watch:
  2. Select a musical instrument to build. Students in 6th grade or higher should build a tunable instrument involving string, water, or air waves.
  3. Sketch a design.
  4. Obtain a Peer Review before you begin building your instrument.
  5. Build your instrument. Tune it to at least one octave (plus one) in a pentonic major scale, such as C, D, E, G, A, C.
  6. Document the process (sketch, photos, videos).
  7. Submit a brief demonstration of your instrument.


Chromatic Scale

IntervalRatio to Fundamental
Just Scale
Ratio to Fundamental
Equal Temperament
Major ScalePentatonic ScaleEx. 1Ex. 2
Unison 1.0000 1.0000 1 1 C G
Major Second 9/8 = 1.1250 1.12246 2 2 D A
Major Third 5/4 = 1.2500 1.25992 3 3 E B
Fifth 3/2 = 1.5000 1.49831 5 4 G D
Major Sixth 5/3 = 1.6667 1.68179 6 5 A E
Octave 2.0000 2.0000 8 6 C G


Songs which use the pentatonic scale:

Virtual Keyboard


Exit Ticket
CCSS Math Practice
  • I can attend to precision.
  • I can look for and express regularity in repeated reasoning.
NGSS Crosscutting Concepts
  • Patterns
  • Energy and Matter