Clay Pot Chimes

Teaching Objective

Students will gain understanding of how the size of an instrument affects the pitch of the sounds produced by the instrument.


  1. 20 Clay flower pots, in a variety of sizes
  2. 5 wooden dowel rods approximately 18 inches in length
  3. String or cord, scissors, tape measure, and wooden spoon

Teaching Sequence

  1. Have students read about percussion instruments, particularly the chimes.
  2. Discuss how the size of each chime affects its pitch (high or low sounds).
  3. Divide students into 5 groups, giving each group 4 different size flower pots.
  4. Have each group of student cut four lengths of string: 30 inches, 24 inches, 18 inches, and 12 inches.
  5. Have students match pots and string from largest/longest to smallest/shortest.
  6. They should then put one end of the string through the hole in the pot and knot the string inside the pot so the pot hangs upside down from the string.
  7. Next, have them tie the free end of the string around the wooden dowel rod with the pots arranged from largest to smallest, left to right.
  8. One student should hold the rod so the pots hang freely while another student strikes the pots gently with the wooden spoon to produce sound.

(Note: Steps 4 and 5 are only for visual reinforcement of tone differences, and are optional. Strings may be of equal lengths).

Culminating Activity

Ask the students to describe how the difference in the size of the pots affects the pitch of the sound they produce.


Do students demonstrate an understanding of how the size of an instrument affects the pitch of its sound?

Co-Curricular Connections/TEKS

Fine Arts - Music