Reflection: Classroom Setup Frequency, Pitch, and Amplitude: Developing Models - Section 4: Student Activity : Creating Models of Relationships Between Wave Properties


There is a dilemma that science educators know all too well.  How do I teach hands-on lessons with such a small budget?  Many engaging activities require materials, many of which are consumable and need to be purchased every year.  And, even if it's just buying salt and flour, those dollars add up!  Over the years, I have come across many ways that I get materials in my classroom without spending my own money.  For everything in this unit, I used one of the following methods to obtain the required materials:

1.  Write a grant - There are more grant opportunities out there than you would realize.  Find them.  Apply for them.  In my experience, engaging science activities and labs are easily sold to a grant committee!  In this lesson, I wrote a grant proposal to my PTO (Parent Teacher Organization) asking them for the money to purchase the Laser Light Show Apparatus.  In addition, many automotive and engineering businesses have grants for implementing STEM into education.

2.  Ask local universities - I happen to live near a large university.  Their labs and departments are constantly recycling things.  You will be surprised what you can get if you just call and ask.  In my experience, they are excited to help! 

3.  Contact businesses - Find businesses in the local area that are science based and might have lab ware, electrical companies that might have electronics, etc and ask them!  I have also had a lot of success calling local supermarkets and asking for donations of consumables like cardboard, paper/Styrofoam trays, etc.

4.  Parents can help - In the beginning of the year, I give the parents a list of consumables that we use in the class.  I tell them that they are not required to bring in anything; but, instead it is a list of ideas for how they can help.  Parents in my district want to help but don't know exactly how.  This is a way they can.  If I get a few parents to bring in salt and food coloring, that is money from my school budget that is now free for me to buy tuning forks or materials from science suppliers.  Also, I tell my parents that as a parent myself, I always struggle with what to give as a gift to my children's teachers.  I joke and say, "Instead of baking me cookies - just give me a container of sugar, flour or food coloring!".  I also throw hints to students around the holidays.  I joke and say, "What I really want for Christmas is more slinkies!"  While I may say it jokingly, I always end up getting slinkies for Christmas!

  Materials and Money
  Classroom Setup: Materials and Money
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Frequency, Pitch, and Amplitude: Developing Models

Unit 1: Waves: An Introduction and Exploration of Wave Properties
Lesson 2 of 7

Objective: Students will be able to develop models demonstrating the relationships between characteristic properties of waves.

Big Idea: Students practice making models of wave properties using sound makers, slinkies, lasers and more!

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  90 minutes
laser light show lesson
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