Wave Quiz Prep

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Students prepare a study guide on waves that summarizes content from the past several classes in preparation for a quiz.

Big Idea

Wave properties and behavior are easier to remember when the information is organized and categorized.


A quiz is a good way to assess student understanding of material. It also keeps students accountable for their learning. This class is a review of content from lessons such as the wave equation from Wave Hello, wave interference and standing wave from Standing Waves, applications of standing waves from Design Your Own Instrument and the application of the Doppler formula from Doppler Effect Equation. Students reflect on the conceptual and mathematical knowledge of waves and how they appy to a variety of real-world situations such as applications to musical instruments and the Doppler effect.

One of the most important things I can do for students is to get them to be self-directed learners. This requires that they spend time thinking about how to organize their notes and the information they have learned. One technique that is a fun way for students to organize their notes is to make a Foldable

CCSS applied here is Math Practice 4: Model with mathematics and NGSS Science Practice 5: Using mathematics and computational thinking, Science Practice 8: Obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information. These are in support of performance standard HS-PS4-1: Use mathematical representations to support a claim regarding relationships among the frequency, wavelength, and speed of waves traveling in various media.

Make a Foldable for Wave Properties and Behaviors

30 minutes

In order to help students succeed on the quiz, I teach them how to make a product that requires them to review, categorize and organize the things they know about waves. I give the students instructions on how to create a Foldable. This is an organization tool that requires the students to think through where they want to put the information they have learned in this unit so far. I have the students title the flaps of their foldable with the following parts.

  1. Definition of a Wave
  2. Wave Properties
  3. Wave Behaviors
  4. Standing Waves
  5. Doppler Effect

I hand out the Wave Vocabulary list and tell the students that the definitions of all of the vocab words should find their way onto the foldable.  I tell students they have 25 minutes to finish their foldable.

Students spend the next 25 minutes to construct their foldable and fill it in. This activity requires that they make choices on how to organize the content which is beneficial to their understanding of the material. For instance, students have to place the vocabulary words in the tab they believe they should go. They also draw pictures and diagrams in their foldable such as the different types of waves, the parts of a wave, how physics applies to musical instruments and the Doppler effect. While students make their foldable, I move around the classroom to answer questions the students have.

Students Self-Assess on Wave Content

20 minutes

As students complete their foldable, they bring them up to me so I can flip through them. This is an open-ended activity with no single correct way to do it. To gain insight on student thinking, I ask them to justify some of their decisions on how they organize their foldable.  

After I review their foldable, I give them the Wave and Sound Quiz Prep. The sheet has several conceptual questions about the big ideas on waves: wave speed is determined by the medium, how waves interfere, what causes the Doppler effect, etc. There are also several word problems that require calculations using the wave equation or the Doppler formula. The answers are on the back, but I encourage students to complete the problems before they look at the answers. The goal of this sheet is to help students assess their own understanding, what content they know and can apply and what content they need help with. Students work independently on this sheet since they use it to self-assess their understanding. 

As the period nears the end, I ask the class as a whole if they have any questions they would like me to review. There is time to work through one or two problems. To prepare for tomorrow's quiz, I remind students to work through all the problems and to check their solutions with the answers on the back.