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Carolina STEM Challenge®: Wave Machine

$9.95 - $84.35

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.

3 Product Options


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.




Questions & Answers