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Carolina STEM Challenge®: Wave Machine Kit

Item # 750049 Exclusive This product is exclusive to Carolina Biological Supply. With Digital This kit includes 1-year access to digital resources including videos, digital teacher’s manuals, printable student guides, interactive lessons, editable assessment questions, and more.

Product Highlights

  • Construct a wave machine to learn about wave properties and encoding and decoding information with signal modulation/demodulation.
  • Middle school/high school engineering design challenge with enough materials for 10 lab groups.
  • Carolina Kits 3D®—Lab activity that designs a solution for an engineering problem to support the NGSS and 3-dimensional instruction.



This item will ship on or about 9/29/21

In this investigation, students apply their knowledge of wave properties to solve an engineering problem, "How can understanding the science of waves help engineers design better communication systems with less noise and clearer signals?" Thirty students working in groups of 3 build wave machine prototypes using duct tape, wooden skewers, and clay. Students then develop a protocol, based on Morse code, for sending a short 3-letter message through the wave. Once machine operation is mastered, students use the engineering cycle to redesign the machine for better performance.

Time Requirement
Total, 285 minutes. Teacher prep, 60 minutes. Prototyping and the design challenge, 165 minutes. Design challenge presentation and assessment, 60 minutes.

Digital Resources
Includes 1-year access to digital resources that support 3-dimensional instruction for NGSS. Digital resources may include a teacher manual and student guide, pre-lab activities and setup videos, phenomenon videos, simulations, and post-lab analysis and assessments.

Performance Expectation(s)

Crosscutting Concepts
Systems and System Models

Disciplinary Core Ideas
HS.PS4.C: Information Technologies and Instrumentation

Science and Engineering Practices
Developing and Using Models

Learning Objectives

  • Be able to build a mechanical wave machine that models a transverse wave.
  • Develop a protocol for sending a signal containing a coded message using the machine.
  • Improve the design of the wave machine for use as a communication device by reducing noise in the system.

Prerequisite Knowledge and Skills
Prior knowledge of the application of wave principles to information technology, and processing and transmitting information by generation of an analog signal are useful.

  • This item is only available from Carolina Biological Supply Company.

Product Families Featuring This Item:

Components Qty Included?
Skewers 350 Included
Clay, 1/4 lb 17 Included
Paint Stirrers 24 Included
Duct Tape, 55-yd Roll 2 Included
String, Super Twine, 200-ft Roll 1 Included
Carolina Science Online® Resources (1-year subscription) 1 Included
Teacher's Manual with Reproducible Student Guide 1 Included
C-Clamps 40 Needed, Not Included
Meter Sticks 1 Needed, Not Included
Tape Measures 1 Needed, Not Included
Scissors 1 Needed, Not Included
Plastic Knife or Scalpel (for cutting clay) 1 Needed, Not Included
Scientific Calculator 1 Needed, Not Included
Digital Scale or Triple Beam Balance 1 Needed, Not Included
Permanent Markers Needed, Not Included
Weights (optional) Optional, Not Included
Washers (optional) Optional, Not Included
Springs (optional) Optional, Not Included
Probeware (optional) Optional, Not Included
Ring Stands (optional) Optional, Not Included
Universal Clamp (optional) Optional, Not Included
Paper Clips (optional) Optional, Not Included
Wax Paper (optional) Optional, Not Included
Rubber Bands (optional) Optional, Not Included

Carolina STEM Challenge

Carolina STEM Challenge® Physical Science Series

Engineer excitement with NEW kits for middle and high school physical science that:

  • Incorporate STEM concepts
  • Promote creativity, team building, and fun
  • Encourage interest in science

Easily integrate exciting STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) activities into any physical science curriculum with Carolina STEM Challenge® Physical Science Series kits. They engage and inspire students with fun real-world design challenges in an exciting tournament-style format.

Hands-on activities center on engineering concepts and practices from the Next Generation Science Standards. Design teams design, build, test, and modify their prototypes to provide an innovative solution to the class challenge. These activities strengthen students’ critical-thinking and creative problem-solving skills, while encouraging creativity, collaboration, and teamwork.

Designed with ease of use in mind, Carolina STEM Challenge® Physical Science Series kits have the materials and information needed for classroom success:

  • Warm-ups and demonstrations
  • Science content
  • Literacy extensions
  • Notebooking options
  • Grading and scoring rubrics