Laser Light Show Information
Note: I often set this up just after discussing the Richter Scale and the detection of earthquakes. With the change in SC Science Standards it also is appropriate during the discussion of sound. As popular as it is Iíll probably do it for both.
I remove the top and bottom of a large coffee can. Then I stretch a piece of plastic wrap over one end pretty taut and secure it with a large rubber band. I then glue a small piece of a mirror (<10 cm round, square) onto the center of the plastic wrap. To make it easier to set up I have mounted the can apparatus in a cardboard box. To prepare for the music show I set the can apparatus on a table where I can put computer stereo speakers just in front and to the side of the can so that the sound is aiming at the plastic wrap. I usually use a ringstand and clamp to hold a pocket laser. I have used a large lump of clay as well. A rubber band is used on the laser pointer to keep it turned on. The laser is in front of the can and aimed at the mirror so that the spot strikes the mirror and is reflected across the room onto the projector screen at the front of the room.
After this is set up and before I use music I turn on the laser and turn off the lights. I then make a noise and it is shown as movement on the screen. Same with banging on a cabinet and stomping on the floor. Good thing my downstairs neighbor loves me.
You then can play music through the computer. I have a large selection of various types of music from classical to country to hard rock (my favorite, of course). The louder the music the more movement you will see. Experiment to find what works best.