The Sheldon SOLID Project

The Sheldon SOLID Project (Science of Learning Instrument Design) is a STEAM-based program, supported by the Saint Louis Science Center, that challenges students to design and create their own musical instruments by following the steps of the engineering cycle.

SOLID is designed to get students excited about creative problem solving by combining the creativity of the arts with STEM disciplines. This program provides the opportunity for students to receive instruction from Saint Louis Science Center and Sheldon staff, where they will learn about the connected worlds of sound, science and art. 

Through this FREE program, students will learn about the science of sound, instrument design, and the engineering cycle through fun and interactive online and in-person demonstrations.

SOLID learning opportunities include:

  • A 45-minute demonstration on the “Science of Sound” given by a Saint Louis Science Center representative. Q&A and student participation involved!
  • A 45-minute classroom session with a Sheldon teaching artist to assist in the instrument design and build.

The SOLID program is underwritten by generous support from Edward Jones, Krause-Papendick Fund, and the Les Paul Foundation, and presented in collaboration with the Saint Louis Science Center.


Register for July 31 Professional Development

Take on the SOLID Challenge at Home!

Download the parent and student SOLID Project guides below, and challenge your family to create an instrument out of recycled materials that:

  • Creates sound through vibration
  • Is able to change pitch
  • And is visually artistic!

In the packet, students will learn about the science of sound and will be guided through the steps of the engineering cycle to design, construct, and test their musical creation.

Post a photo of your instrument on Facebook or Instagram with the hashtag #MySOLIDProject, along with a short description!

For Parents

For Students

How to Get Started with SOLID

  • Step 1

  • Step 2

    Request a Saint Louis Science Center educator to present virtually to your classroom on the “Science of Sound” for FREE.

  • Step 3

    Request a Sheldon teaching artist to present virtually on instrument design and assist your classroom in starting the project for FREE.

  • Step 4

    Implement SOLID curriculum provided by The Sheldon into your classroom.

    Our teacher handbooks provide the tools needed for teachers to lead their students in an innovative set of classroom activities. Over the course of 3 to 6 class periods, students will follow the steps of the engineering cycle to create a musical instrument that can change pitch and volume. Teaching artists are available to assist virtually in your classroom.

  • Step 5

    Submit your students’ instruments to be displayed at The Sheldon for the spring reception and exhibit, generally held in late April. The format of this reception will be determined at a later date as we consider what is safest for all participating.