Water Waves

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SWBAT explore and test amplitude and frequency by using balls and water to determine and visualize the crest and troughs of waves.

Big Idea

Water waves were one area my students were most familiar with and we will start here so that they can add to their prior knowledge and connect new learning to them.

Four Key Terms

10 minutes

There are four main vocabulary terms that students will begin to explore in this experiment. I write the following four terms onto the white board: low frequency, high frequency, high amplitude, and low amplitude. I then review with them the terms frequency and amplitude. It is here that I explain that the experiment will focus on these two main concepts. As a class, I have them help me interpret what high and low might look like and draw these onto the white board. This will be our reference during their group experiment. 


Water Play

20 minutes

With the vocabulary in place, we are ready for the directions. Students will be given a tub of water and two different balls. I used baseballs and a bouncy ball. I remind students of the mass of the objects and we review this briefly. A ruler will need to be set into the water and cork will be used to measure the amplitude of the wave.  

Each group will drop the balls into the water one at a time. The group will then observe what time of wave the ball creates. One team member should watch for amplitude, one for frequency, and the other drops the ball. They might need to drop the ball repeatedly in order to record the correct data. Students will then draw examples of the waves onto paper or their white board.

Observation Sharing

5 minutes

As the experiments occur, I monitor and prompt students in their thinking. When each group has determined the frequency and amplitude of the waves we are going to share our observations. This discussion is between groups and I am the facilitator. They will be able to correct and confirm each others thoughts. They will add more content and help each other learn then through me reviewing the information for them.