Catch a Wave

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SWBAT model a wave in a variety of ways.

Big Idea

How can you model how waves move?


10 minutes

Because I know some of my students worked through a sound FOSS kit last year, and some didn't, I began with a review of several properties of sound.  I had my students place their hands on their throats and feel their larynx vibrate as they spoke.  I asked them make high and low notes, establishing that sound requires vibration.  Next I had them get super quiet, then scratch their desks.  I had them do it again with their ears on their desks.  They exclaimed "It got louder!" I stated sound has to travel through some kind of medium to our ears, and sound travels through solid objects more quickly than air because the molecules are more densely packed.  Finally, I had all of my students sit in a circle.  I placed a bucket with plastic wrap secured over the end, and sprinkled rice over the plastic wrap.  When I hit another bucket with a drumstick, it caused the rice to jump (if you don't want to build it, feel free to use my video).  I asked my class how it moved, and they said "sound waves."


20 minutes

Next I had my students number off into 4 groups, gave them Catching a Wave and a clipboard, and and took them out to the basketball court.  I gave them 4 minutes at each rotation, with 1 minute to rotate and get started. The only real preparation necessary for these  stations was to place a few rubber bands around food storage tubs for station 2.


5 minutes

When we came back in, I had my students complete a reflection.  I did this to improve their metacognitive thinking as well as to get some insight from my students on what types of modeling were most helpful for them.  My students named the demonstrations in the classroom, and all of the rotations except for the drawing, which is interesting because drawing a picture is sort of the default modeling method.