Sustainable Sounds - Building Musical Instruments from Trash

by  Bash the Trash Environmental Arts

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Sustainable Sounds is far and away our most popular virtual program. Rooted in the live version running for 30+ years, we’ve upped the engagement level by adding a baked-in in-school instrument-building component that’s fun for students… and easy on teachers! Our live performer will show students how to build their own instruments while using all their senses to discover the science behind them. Throughout the show we incorporate timely and important information about the fight against Plastic Pollution and Climate Change, and how students can get involved; finally culminating in the fun and noisy Thing Jam!

Program Rating

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About This Program


Multipoint: $220.00
Point to Point: $220.00

This workshop is intended for a single classroom, but up to 4 additional classrooms may sign in.
First classroom: $220
Up to four additional classrooms @$55 each



Target Audience

Education: Grade(s) Kindergarten, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, Parent, Homeschool/Family , Learning PodPublic Library: Library Patrons

Minimum participants:

no minimum

Maximum participants:

Full school, but separate shows for K-2, 3-5, 6-8 recommended

Primary Disciplines

Fine Arts, Performing Arts, Problem Solving, Sciences, STEM

Program Delivery Mode

Zoom or YouTube Live

Booking Information

Book it!

Receive this program and 9 more for one low price when you purchase the CILC Virtual Expeditions package. Learn more

For more information contact CILC at (507) 388-3672

Provider's Cancellation Policy

If for any reason the recipient wishes to reschedule up to 24 hours before the program, Bash the Trash will make every effort to accommodate the rescheduling.

If for any reason the recipient wishes to cancel a program, there is no fee up to 24 hours before the program. Cancellation within 24 hours of program, with no rescheduling possible, entails payment of the full fee.

However, in the case of a weather or pandemic-related cancellation within 24 hours of program, please contact us and we'll work it out.

About This Provider

Content Provider logo


Bash the Trash Environmental Arts

United States

Bash the Trash programs are about music, science, culture, arts and the environment! Centered around the concept of sustainability, we’ve been building and performing with found-object instruments for over 30 years, making connections to plastic pollution and climate change. 

Over time our programs have evolved into a wide range of musical and cultural experiences that go beyond homemade instruments. Our diverse crew of presenters offer a series of programs based on their individual artistic skills and cultural backgrounds, making connections with students through their amazing experiences. We’re eager to interact with audiences through the arts, Q&A and conversation to create true cultural and artistic exchanges. 

Hands-on instrument-building or art-making is possible in most programs using simple reused/repurposed materials. Bash the Trash offers workshop/performances and multiple-session residencies as well as fun and useful professional development for educators, all closely aligned to national and local standards. Plus Bash the Trash programs are great for special days like Earth Day, National Recycling Day and World Water Day! 

Ian Bertles

Program Details


The programs begins with a short introductory video
Presenters introduce ideas of the show and discuss Q&A options
Materials Reminder
Short video of "Horns & Gongs" music
Sustainability and the 3 Rs - revised
Plastic Pollution pictures
Sound science - vibrations, sound waves, resonance, frequency
Simple percussion with different size measuring cups - pitch
Short video "Slow Bells" music
Slowing it down - slow motion guitar
Building a rubber band box guitar
Building a simple percussion set
Demo Thing Jam and rehearse with kids
Perform Thing Jam
Closeout 1 - Safe materials; covid restrictions (no winds)
Closeout 2 - What can you do reduce pollution and trash?
3 action points


This is an introduction to how science can help us build better musical instruments using the cheapest possible materials. This leads us down several program objective threads.

Thread 1: Science of Sound
Students will learn about about the nuances of sound energy transfer:
Energy is given to the instrument (instrument is struck, blown, bowed, etc)
Instrument vibrates
Through resonance, vibrations travel through medium (air) causing compression waves (sound waves) to slosh about

Thread 2: Science of Instruments
Students will learn about each of the four instrument families (or five Sachs/Hornbostel Instrument classifications) and how their unique properties of material construction, design, playing technique, etc. lead to the different "sounds" (timbre) of the families.

Thread 3: Sustainability
Students will learn current concepts of moving to a more sustainable living style, including the 3 R's - Reduce Reuse and Recycle - and why they are in that order; plastic pollution; climate change, etc. Students will also learn what they can do to start to make a difference - even at a young age!

There are further threads to be explored, namely culture, history, composition and performance, etc. but not in a 45" show!

Standards Alignment

National Standards

Next Gen Science Standards addressed by this program

1st Grade
1-PS4-1, Wave Properties: Waves and Their Applications Technologies for Information Transfer
1-PS4-1 Plan and conduct investigations to provide evidence that vibrating materials can make sound and that sound can make materials vibrate.
1-PS4-4 Use tools and materials to design and build a device that uses light or sound to solve the problem of communicating over a distance.
Crosscutting Concept: Cause and Effect

2nd Grade
2-PS1 Matter and its Interactions
2-PS1 Plan and conduct an investigation to describe and classify different kinds of materials by their observable properties.
2-PS2 Plan and conduct an investigation to describe and classify different kinds of materials by their observable properties.
Crosscutting Concept: Patterns; Cause and Effect
K-2 ETS1 Engineering Design
K-2-ETS1-2 Develop a simple sketch, drawing, or physical model to illustrate how the shape of an object helps it function as needed to solve a given problem.
Crosscutting Concept: Structure and Function

3rd Grade
3-PS2 Motion and Stability
3-PS2-1 Plan and conduct an investigation to provide evidence of the effects of balanced and unbalanced forces on the motion of an object.
3-PS2-1 Plan and conduct an investigation to provide evidence of the effects of balanced and unbalanced forces on the motion of an object.
Crosscutting Concept: Patterns; Cause and Effect

4th Grade
4-PS3 Energy
4-PS3-2 Make observations to provide evidence that energy can be transferred from place to place by sound, light, heat, and electric currents.
4-PS4 Waves
4-PS4-1 Develop a model of waves to describe patterns in terms of amplitude and wavelength and that waves can cause objects to move.
4PS4-3 Generate and compare multiple solutions that use patterns to transfer information.
Crosscutting Concept: Patterns; Cause and Effect

5th Grade
5-PS1 Matter and its Interactions
5-PS1-1 Develop a model to describe that matter is made of particles too small to be seen.
5-ESS3 Earth and Human Activity
5-ESS3-2 Generate and compare multiple solutions to reduce the impacts of natural
Earth processes on humans.
Crosscutting Concept: Cause and Effect
5-ESS3, Earth and Human Activity
5-ESS3.C: Human activities in agriculture, industry and everyday life have had major effects on the land, vegetation, streams, ocean, air and even outer space. But individuals and communities are doing things to help protect Earth’s resources and environments.
Crosscutting Concept: Systems and System Models
3-5-ETS1 Engineering Design
3-5-ETS1-1 Define a simple design problem reflecting a need or a want that includes specified criteria for success and constraints on materials, time, or cost.
Crosscutting Concept: Influence of Science, Engineering and Technology on Society and the Natural World

Middle School
MS-PS4 Waves and their Applications in Technologies for Information Transfer
MS-PS4-2 Develop and use a model to describe that waves are reflected, absorbed, or transmitted through various materials

High School
HS-PS3 Energy
HS-PS3-2 Develop and use models to illustrate that energy at the macroscopic scale can be accounted for as a combination of energy associated with the motions of particles (objects) and energy associated with the relative positions of particles (objects).

State Standards

Available upon request