NSDL teaching resources related to “wave”

This web page describes electromagnetic waves and sunlight. Information includes physiological and spectral color, spectral lines, the electromagnetic field work of Maxwell, the discovery of radio waves by Hertz, and photons and Einstein’s relation between energy and frequency. This material is part of a large site, “From Stargazers to Starships,” that introduces physics concepts through topics in space science. “Stargazers” also has detailed lesson plans accompanying this material.

The Many Colors of Sunlight

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This site has a number of explanations of wave and oscillatory phenomena, with an emphasis on sound and acoustics. The explanations are accompanied by GIF animations. The site also has a small video of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge.

Acoustics and Vibration Animations

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Students use a variety of tools to explore the interior of the Earth in this inquiry activity.

Modeling the interior of the Earth using Seismic Waves

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The Ejs Wave Function Plotter model displays a one-dimensional wave function u(x,t) depicting a disturbance at position x and time t. The disturbance can be mass density, pressure, or electric field depending on the physical context. The default wave function is sinusoidal but any other analytic function can be entered in the text box. The number of sampling points can also be changed. You can modify this simulation if you have Ejs installed by right-clicking within the plot and selecting “Open Ejs Model” from the pop-up menu item.

Wave Function Plotter Model

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This item is an interactive tutorial on the topic of interference of light waves. It introduces the user to constructive and destructive interference patterns through models that include soap bubbles and butterfly wings. It also includes a detailed look at Young’s double slit experiment, Newton’s Rings experiment, and hologram interference. The related Java simulation allows users to further explore the double-slit experiment by adjusting the distance between slits. This item is part of a larger collection of materials for students of introductory optics on the topic of light and color.

Introduction to Light Interference

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Mechanical Waves are waves which propagate through a material medium (solid, liquid, or gas) at a wave speed which depends on the elastic and inertial properties of that medium. There are two basic types of wave motion for mechanical waves: longitudinal waves and transverse waves.

Longitudinal and Transverse Wave Motion

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This teaching guide is designed to introduce the concepts of waves and seismic waves that propagate within the Earth, and to provide ideas and suggestions for how to teach about seismic waves. The guide provides information on the types and properties of seismic waves and instructions for using some simple materials, especially the slinky, to effectively demonstrate seismic wave characteristics and wave propagation. Most of the activities described in the guide are useful both as demonstrations for the teacher and as exploratory activities for students.

Seismic Waves and the Slinky: A Guide For Teachers

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This demonstration is intended to help students better understand the electromagnetic spectrum. At the end of this activity students will be able to explain that energy travels from the sun to the earth by means of electromagnetic waves, and that the shorter the wavelength, the higher the energy per photon. They will understand why shorter wavelengths of electromagnetic energy carry more energy than longer wavelengths. Students will also be able to demonstrate how wavelength is measured.

Standing Wave Demonstration

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This module comes from Visionlearning, an educational resource funded by the National Science Foundation. This particular module introduces the history of wave theories, basic descriptions of waves and wave motion, and the concepts of wave speed and frequency. The module, available in Spanish, also includes illustrations, embedded definitions of key terms, additional links, and questions & quizzes.

Waves and Wave Motion: Describing Waves

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In 1755, when a deadly earthquake struck the city of Lisbon, no one understood what could cause the ground to shake as it did. Observations of residents at the time indicated that the quake had delivered two distinct types of vibrations. This video segment describes the history of seismology. Topics include the two main types of seismic waves (S- and P-waves), how a seismograph works, and how seismograph readings from three locations can be used to pinpoint the location of an earthquake.

Earthquakes: The Seismograph

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