The Africa Classroom Package:
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Here's are instructions for a percussion instrument made by children in East Africa using bottle caps and a Y-shaped stick. Adult supervision is recommended.

Materials Needed

1 Y-shaped stick (8"-12")
16-28 bottle caps (liners removed)
nontoxic stain (such as Tripp Carver)
wire (2 8"-12" pieces)

Tools Needed

mallet (optional)
nail set (or 3" nail)
pairing knife (or peeler)

1. Peel bark off stick with knife or peeler.
2. Sand stick smooth with sandpaper (tips and joints, too).
3. Apply thin layer of wood stain to stick with rag (let dry).
4. Apply thin layer of white glue to stick (when dries, will provide clear, glossy surface).
5. Pound ridges of bottle caps down using hammer (start with caps facing up, ridges up; pound ridges down and out).

6. Pound bottle caps flat with mallet.
7. Pound a hole (wide enough for wire to pass through) in the center of each bottle cap with hammer and nail set (or nail).
8. Attach two pieces of wire to one side of the stick, keeping them 2 or 3 inches apart (use pliers to tighten).
9. Attach the bottle caps 2 at a time so space occurs between them (due to the "lips" or "volcanos" produced by the nail piercing the cap; i.e. place one 'volcano' against another). Place enough bottle caps to reach half way across the stick (if you go past half way, there will not be enough space for the caps to move freely).
10. Attach the other ends of the wire to the stick using pliers.

Note: Bottle cap liners can be removed by placing bottle caps in acetone for an hour. Tweezers may be used to remove liners; rubber gloves recommended. Acetone is toxic, so an adult should do this part.

Also, bottle caps can be burned on a grill or in hot coals till brown. This gives the instrument a better sound.

Have fun making and playing your African instruments!

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