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STEM Activities

STEM Activity: Duct Tape Millionaire

Tap into your inventive and entrepreneurial spirit by creating an innovative speaker that the world has never seen (or heard) before. Who knows, it might even be a million-dollar idea!


Materials Needed

  • 12-ounce or smaller cup
  • Duct tape
  • Tissue box



  • Bottle caps
  • Buttons
  • Glue
  • Paper
  • Pen or pencil
  • Rubber bands
  • Scissors
  • Straws
  • Toothpaste caps


Step-by-Step Instructions

  1. Remove the plastic from the top of the tissue box and then cover the outside of the box with your choice of material. (Duct tape works great!)
  2. Design the front of the box to look like a speaker. Consider using paper and cut rubber bands or other craft materials.
  3. Think of an original name for your speaker and add it to the front of the box.
  1. Let your creativity shine by decorating your speaker using recyclable items and craft materials! (Pro Tip: Layer the materials for a 3D effect.)
  2. Complete the speaker by placing a cup in the top of the box.
  3. Now that you have your speaker design, consider ways to bring in the tunes! Might you upcycle the music-making component of a greeting card and place it inside of the speaker?
  4. Further investigate the possibilities!
    • Experiment with sound by playing music on a phone or small device and placing it in the speaker to see what happens!
    • Does the volume change when you adjust the way your device sits in the cup? Why do you think that is?
    • Try playing music in the tissue box with no cup. What happens?
    • Place different sized cups in the speaker. How does each one affect the sound?
    • Cover the opening with different materials. What do you notice about the sound?
    • What other soundmaking devices can you place in your cup?
  1. Finally, pitch your next-generation speaker and business plan to potential investors (like a parent or friend) who might want to join you on your million- or even billion-dollar journey!


What Are We Discovering?

Experimenting with technology can provide inspiration for developing exciting, profitable inventions. NIHF Inductee Amar Bose, a pioneer in modern acoustics and inventor of feedback control, began repairing radios in his basement at the age of 13. He studied electrical engineering and developed many new, patented technologies. With those patents, he founded Bose Corp. in 1964 and achieved worldwide acclaim with the introduction of groundbreaking products.


Looking for other ways to explore STEM?

For more activities and ideas for STEM fun at home, we invite you to visit our blog.

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