Guitars and String Vibrations

Grades 8-9, 70min

In this lesson, students apply their understanding of direct and inverse variation to making music with guitar strings. Students learn the equation governing the relationship between a string’s frequency, wave speed and length, and then use a digital guitar simulation to calculate the wave speeds and string lengths needed to create common chords. After playing through a simple song as a class, students construct and tune cardboard ukuleles to make their learning tangible.

Screenshot of digital guitar simulation app

Topics addressed

Students will be able to


Suggested lesson breakdown

This activity is more of a practice/review project than a teaching tool, and therefore works best towards the end of the unit. Students can work individually or in pairs. The timing suggestions below are estimated and are very flexible based on your students’ pace.

Common Core standards