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Wave Machine

Investigate wave harmonics
In-Booth Demonstration

In-Booth Demonstration

Physical Science

Physical Science


Middle/High School

Introduce students to waves and their properties using a transverse, mechanical wave machine to model wave phenomena such as reflection, interference, energy transfer, and communication principles. During the challenge, students use dowels, modeling clay, and duct tape to create a wave machine. The machine allows students to model and manipulate wave properties (such as frequency, amplitude, velocity, and wavelength) and concludes with students transmitting messages via their wave machine. Students gather data to generate the wave equation, model constructive and destructive interference, and calculate wave velocity for the first, second, and third harmonics of a standing wave. This activity supports 3-dimensional learning and builds toward the following:

  • NGSS Scientific and Engineering Practices: Developing and Using Models, Analyzing and Interpreting Data
  • NGSS Core Ideas: Physical Science 4: Waves and Their Applications in Technologies for Information Transfer

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