Thing on a String: Telephone

You can’t send text messages with it.

You can’t listen to music with it.

You can’t take pictures or video with it.

You can’t even call someone with it.

But if you make it with the right kind of string and paper cups, you’ll probably can get terrific telephone reception.

And you won’t be stuck with a two-year contract, either.


What you need

  • 2 paper or styrofoam cups
  • some string (try knitting yarn)
  • 2 paper clips
  • 1 sharpened pencil to poke holes
  • 2 people

What you do

1. Use the pencil to carefully poke a small hole in the bottom of each cup.

2. Tie one end of the string to the paper clip.

3. Take the other end of the string and thread it through one of the holes from the inside of the cup. Then thread the string through the second cup from the outside. The paper clips keep the string from slipping through.

4. The 2 people stand apart and pull gently on the cups until the string is tight.

5. One person whispers into the cup while the other person listens.

How long can you make the string and still hear each other? Can you talk to your best friend who is standing in another room? Ah, old-fashioned wi-fi!

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