Science Lab workshop “Let’s Make Earphones!”
Event Report

August 16 – 20, 2021

Science Lab workshop “Let’s Make Earphones!”

At TDK Museum, we regularly hold special exhibitions/events, workshop events, science shows, and more. In August of 2021, we held a Science Lab workshop event with the title of “Let’s Make Earphones!” that was intended for elementary to high school students during their summer break. This report will mainly be to share what the event looked like.

Our hope is that everyone learns to like science and Monozukuri

Science Lab workshop “Let’s Make Earphones!” was held over five days from August 16 to 20, 2021 in the TDK Museum’s Future Lab (Free admission. All needed materials are provided by TDK Museum). The aim of this event is to get elementary, junior high school, and high school students to like science and Monozukuri (manufacturing). We were fortunate to have a total of sixty students take part over the five days.

“Let’s Make Earphones!”

Let’s try listening to music by winding up copper wire

On the day of the event, a staff member of TDK Museum serving as instructor started off by saying, “As we make our earphones, let’s think about the mechanism of these earphones and how we are able to hear sound coming out of them.” The participants checked the bag of materials distributed to them and followed their instructor’s guidance as they began making their earphones.

In the words of a TDK Museum staff instructor, “Science Lab is not a class at school, so we are mindful that the point is to enjoy making something and strive to teach in a way that is easy to understand without using difficult words whenever possible.” They moved on to the next step only after everyone had finished the one before, allowing the participants to engage in creating at their own pace and have fun while doing it.

Along this process of creation, they were given explanation on the structure and mechanism of their earphones. First, copper wire is wound around a powerful neodymium magnet that has been attached to a plastic plate. Cord is then connected to the magnet and electrical current flows. The basic mechanism of earphones, therefore, is in having the magnetic force transmitted to the plastic plate and causing it to vibrate, whereby these vibrations in the air produce sound.

Many participants listened to this explanation with great interest. After finishing, they listened to music with their personally made earphones. There was then time for questions and answers, which produced such thoughtful questions as, “What happens to the earphones if more magnets are added?”

A look at participants following the workshop

After the workshop, they were shown such TDK Museum websites as “TEREMIN,” which introduces the wonders and pleasures of science, and “TECH-MAG,” which shares things about electronic components, ranging from basic knowledge to the latest technology.

Meanwhile, comments from the participants included: “Just winding the copper wire onto the plastic plate was hard work”; “I learned the mechanism of the earphones we use every day and was surprised that they’re actually easy to make”; and “I’d like to make some again at home.” It seems that many participants have become more interested in science and Monozukuri.

Before leaving, all of the participants received ballpoint pens and instructional guides for making earphones as commemorative gifts from TDK Museum. The Science Lab workshop ended on a high note.

And finally

Both the children and the adults had such a great time at the workshops that even some of the guardians in attendance ended up making their own earphones. Here at TDK Museum, we will continue to regularly hold Science Lab workshops with the aim of having the youth of today enjoy science and Monozukuri.

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