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    Check out our virtual programming schedule and browse through our list of resources, activities, crafts, videos, and more to help continue to bring science into your world.

  • Summer 2021

    Let our in-person virtual distance learning programs and family experiences provide a COVID-safe educational experience for your school or community group! We have modified some of our most popular programs to address the health and safety of all our community. 

  • Field Trip

    More than 250 interactive science, technology, energy and health exhibits await students of all ages.  We’re experts at making sure that bringing your group to the Museum is smooth sailing all the way. Discounted admission for groups of 15 children or more!

  • ScienceWorks

    Your students become scientists during our ScienceWorks Labs. All programs align with National Science Education Standards, Next Generation Science Standards, Michigan Grade Level Content Expectations and Common Core State Standards. Labs are available year-round for preschool to middle school students and are led by an instructor.

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    Our Outreach staff brings the Museum to you—at schools, libraries, community centers, and festivals—by delivering hands-on programming customized to your schedule and curriculum interests.

  • Distance Learning

    Experience live, interactive Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum programs right in your classroom! Our educators use videoconferencing technology to share science and math activities with your students, engaging them in a dynamic, hands-on learning experience.

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  • Summer Camp

    Through the Unity in Learning partnership, Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum, Leslie Science & Nature Center, and Yankee Air Museum now offer families incredible day camps at two fantastic locations in Ann Arbor and Belleville.

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Back to Programs

Preschool Lab: Music and Movement (Ages 3-5)

Come explore the science behind music! Kids will interact with pitch, tempo, and volume to learn how music is created. Register today!

Cost: $2 per student

Preschool labs are booked for a minimum of 15 students with a minimum price of $30.

State of Michigan Early Childhood Standards of Quality for Pre-Kindergarten, 2012

  • Children develop positive attitudes and gain knowledge about science through observation and active play. (HSCOF 4.1.1, 4.1.3, 4.1.4)
  • Children show a beginning awareness of scientific knowledge related to living and nonliving things. (HSCOF 4.2.1, 4.2.2)
  • Children show how they feel, what they think, and what they are learning through listening, participating in, and creating instrumental and vocal music experiences. (HSCOF 5.1.1)
  • Children show how they feel, what they think, and what they are learning through movement experiences. (HSCOF 5.3.1, 5.3.2)
  • Children develop abilities to express themselves clearly and communicate ideas to others. (HSCOF 2.1.2, 2.1.4, 2.2.3)

Music and Movement Pre-visit Information

During Your Visit to the ScienceWorks Lab students will be expected to:

  • Sit in tables of 6 students and (at least) 1 adult
  • Be prepared to give their attention to the Lab instructors when requested to ‘Give Me Five’
  • Work cooperatively with one another at the table
  • Follow the hands-on procedures just as the Lab teacher or assistant explains them
  • Handle materials and equipment carefully

It is important that teachers and chaperones:

  • Help to focus the students’ attention
  • Assist students with the hands-on activities and experiments when necessary
  • Turn off cell phones and pagers during the class


Beat: a steady background ‘pulse’ in music

Dynamics/dynamic level: the term for the relative volume level in music

Pitch: the frequency at which a particular note vibrates (its relative “highness” or “lowness”)

Tempo: the speed of the music

Music and Movement Post-visit Activity: Making Music

Post-visit activities will help reiterate new concepts and tie the ScienceWorks Lab experience to your classroom curriculum. Below you will find a classroom activity and a list of suggested resources for further information. We hope that you enjoyed your field trip. Visit us again!


Do you know the science of music? Music is an art form, but it is also has measurable scientific elements, such as pitch, tempo, and volume. A pitch may be high or low, a tempo may be fast or slow, and volume may be loud or soft (quiet).  In this activity, we can use an instrument, our voices, and our bodies to learn about these different parts of music.


  • Small plastic cups
  • Packaging, electrical, or duct tape
  • Rice, lentils, or small beads
  • Washi tape in different patterns
  • Card board or poster board
  • Construction paper
  • 1 large brad (or brass fastener)
  • 1 large paper clip
  • Sharpie or other marker


  • Use small cups and rice to make shakers
    • Put rice into a small plastic cup. Lentils, tiny beads, or something similar will also work.
    • Place an empty plastic cup of the same size so that it rests, rim on rim, on top of the cup with rice.
    • Use packaging tape or similar to tape the two cups together, forming a shaker. You can secure the top cup onto the bottom cup by placing a few vertical pieces of tape first, but make sure you tape all the way around the rim horizontally afterward. This will ensure no rice falls out.
    • Give the shaker a test to make sure it is taped securely.
    • Allow the students to decorate the cup. Different colors and patterns of washi tape is an easy choice. The tape rips easily and quickly adds color. Students could also use glue and colored paper, or sharpie markers to draw on the shaker.
  • Use cardboard and a brad to make a spin wheel
    • Cut a large circle out of poster board or cardboard.
    • Cut out six wedge shaped pieces of differently colored paper to make six sections on your circle.  If you used poster board, you can also draw and color in these wedges.
    • Label each wedge with one of the following:
      • Sing high
      • Sing low
      • Sing loud
      • Sing soft
      • Dance fast
      • Dance slow
    • Use scissors or an exacto knife to poke a hole in the middle of your wheel.
    • Put a large brad into the hole. Put the brad about half way through, leaving about an eighth to a quarter inch of room between the top of the brad and the cardboard wheel
    • Put one end of a large paperclip around the brad so that it lies flat against your wheel.
    • You and your students can flick the paper clip with your finger to make the paper clip spin and land on one of your choices.


To refresh the ideas of tempo, volume, and pitch, students can start by alternating between dancing fast with their shakers, and dancing slow. They can also be asked to practice singing loud, then soft, high, then low using any familiar song. The spinning choice wheel will help bring these different elements of music and movement together. Students can volunteer to come up and spin the choice wheel by flicking the paper clip with their finger. Whatever choice the paperclip lands on, they whole class will do.  Repeat with as many students as desired.

Suggested Resources

Lionni, Leo. Geraldine, The Music Mouse. Dragonfly Books, New York. 2009.
Taplin, Sam, Gareth and Katherine Lucas. Noisy Orchestra. Usborne Publishing Ltd, London, England. 2012.

Introducing Preschoolers to Music

Preschool Lab: Music and Movement (Ages 3-5)



30 minutes


20, 30, 60, 100

Physical Sciences

Still not sure we have the experience you want?

Visit unityinlearning.org to open a gateway to hands-on discovery, exploration of the natural world, and experiences that take flight.

Through the Unity in Learning partnership with the Ann Arbor Hands-On MuseumLeslie Science and Nature Center, and Yankee Air Museum we provide over 100 different  programs at our facilities, on site at your location, or through interactive video conferencing.