Make Waves

Carol Bible Carter Elementary
5740 S. Michigan
Chicago IL 60637
(312) 535-0860


Students in grade six will discover, through exploration, the basic
characteristics of waves.

Materials Needed:

wave machine Tuning fork
Ripple tank Oil
Funnel Plastic bottle (one per student)
Bucket Paper
Cookie Sheet Sand
Water Food coloring
Slinkies Spring


Opening Activity: Students will come to the front of the room and lock arms.
The teacher will pull and push on the first person in a side to side motion
thus creating a longitudinal wave. Then the teacher will pull and push on the
first person in a forward and backward motion creating a transverse wave.
Students will be asked for their observations. Students will then be asked to
tell of any personal knowledge of the different types of waves.
Students will divide into cooperative groups and explore six stations. A
recorder will write down any discoveries or observations made by the group.

Students will be divided into groups of four.

1. Wave machines- Students will explore bell wave machines. These are available
at most high schools.
2. Ripple tank- Students will observe the patterns that water waves make.
3. Students will fill a funnel with sand and observe patterns made when the
funnel is set in a swinging motion and the paper is dragged under it.
4. Students will observe water wave characteristics in a large bucket of water
and in a shallow cookie sheet. Students will observe waves in a shallow
medium and in a deep medium.
5. Students will observe a tuning fork placed in a cup of water. The water will
splash showing vibration.
6. Students will make a wave in a bottle by filling a plastic bottle with a
mixture of oil, water and food coloring.

Group Activity: Teacher and students will explore waves through observing the
motions of various slinkies and springs.

Performance Assessment:

Reporters from each group will report the discoveries each group made at the six
stations. The teacher will record these observations on the blackboard. The
group will summarize their results and come to a consensus with regard to their
observations of waves. Students will be asked to describe the characteristics
of waves and give a definition of a wave on paper.

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