Reflection: Checks for Understanding Standing Waves - Section 2: Standing Wave Simulation


As much as possible, I like to have students develop their own understanding through observation. For instance, in this assignment, I tell the students the location of nodes and anti-nodes on the simulator and have them define these words based on what they see. Student Work - Standing Waves Front shows two examples of typical student responses; one says that a "node is a point along the medium that appears to stand still", the other says it is "where the wave is on the equilibrium" (preview mode only shows the first page, download this PDF to see the complete document). These are fine definitions that are the same as a textbook definition of node as "points of no displacement". When students construct their own understanding, the material if more meaningful to them and they find it easier to apply to more advanced ideas such as standing wave formation in an instrument.

The Student Work - Standing Waves Back shows samples of the explanation provided by the Physics Classroom (preview mode only shows the first page, download this PDF to see the complete document). I have students write this on the sheet so that they can compare it to their own explanation and see how the two explanations differ. Specifically, they explain what information they think they missed in their original definition on the front. It is good to see that students are able to pull that information out of the reading and communicate it on the handout. 

Finally, the assignment finishes with applications of how standing waves form on a guitar string. Again, it is essential to link this theoretical knowledge to some real-life examples and the students are able to do that.

  Checks for Understanding: Standing Waves Activity - Student Work
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Standing Waves

Unit 5: Waves
Lesson 3 of 15

Objective: Students construct an explanation for how standing waves form using wave vocabulary words.

Big Idea: Standing waves form when an incident wave interferes with a reflected waves to form nodes and anti-nodes.

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Waves, Science, interference (Waves), physics, standing waves, node
  25 minutes
standing wave
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