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Catch a Wave. By: Catherine Livesay and Diann Musgrove. For the Teacher. Discovering Waves. Lesson Overview. Identify parts of the waves Calculate frequency, amplitude, and wavelength

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Catch a Wave

By: Catherine Livesay and Diann Musgrove

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For the Teacher

Discovering Waves

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Lesson Overview

  • Identify parts of the waves

  • Calculate frequency, amplitude, and wavelength

    In this lesson, students learn about the parts of a wave, and discuss wave height, wavelength, and frequency. They will demonstrate waves using various materials and measure parts of the waves.

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Instructional Goals

  • Student will identify parts of the wave including crest, trough, height, wavelength, frequency, and amplitude of a wave.

  • Students will demonstrate an understanding of the movement energy through a wave.

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Formative Assessment

  • Assessing prior knowledge through classroom discussion

  • Teacher observations during simulation activities

  • Accuracy of student calculations of amplitude

  • Think-Pair-Share

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Opening The Lesson

  • Play music “Catch a Wave” or other beach related music

  • Oral reading of Waves from Surfing to Tsunami by Drew Kampion

  • Classroom discussion of the book

  • Lead the students in a discussion of the parts of a wave.

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Developing The Lesson

  • Classroom discussion of the book

  • Lead the students into a discussion on the parts of a wave.

  • Use ropes and a slinky to demonstrate different wave heights, lengths, and periods. Have a student volunteer to hold one end. By lifting and lowering the other end at different speeds and heights, create different sets of waves for the students to see.

  • Ask students to imagine how a boat might react as the waves change sizes and periods.

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  • Draw a simple picture of a wave on the board so all of the students can see it.

  • Explain that each part of a wave has a name. Identify the crest, trough, wave height, and wavelength of each wave.

  • Then, show the students that a wave period or frequency is measured as the time it takes for two consecutive crests to pass a given point, and that all of these variables affect how a wave may look from a boat.

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  • Ask the students to imagine that they are on a sailboat. Explain to them that a wave with a long wavelength or long wave period might just feel like a gentle roll, or riding a bicycle on a road with really shallow hills, regardless of the height of the wave.

  • Next, ask them to think of a really massive roller coaster. As waves decrease in wavelength or increase in wave period, they become steeper. A single 100-foot (30-meter) wave might cause nothing more than a gentle rocking motion out in the open ocean where it has a long wavelength; however, several 18-foot (six-meter) waves could seem enormous if the boat has to rise steeply over each one.

  • Have them discuss which has a greater amplitude.

  • Teach them how to calculate the amplitude of the wave.

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Closing The Lesson traveling around the world.

  • Review the parts of the wave and the concepts of wave height, wavelength and wave period. Ask the students to describe the waves that they created.

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Teacher Resources traveling around the world.

  • Waves from Surfing to Tsunami

    by Drew Kampion

  • Ropes

  • Slinkys

  • Rulers

  • Paper and writing utensils

  • Container with water

  • Corks

  • Music (beach related)


    National Geographic Xpeditions

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Enrichment Activities traveling around the world.

  • Students can research famous surfers and the events they in which they participate.

  • Students can design an experiment that shows how amplitude and frequency effect the movement of energy.

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Lesson Accommodations traveling around the world.

  • Pair students

  • Give prelabeled drawings of a wave

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Standardized Test Item traveling around the world.

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Catch a Wave traveling around the world.

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Learning Goals traveling around the world.

  • You will be able to identify the parts of the waves

  • You will calculate the frequency, amplitude and wavelength of a wave.

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Assessment traveling around the world.

  • Classroom participation

  • Accuracy of labeling the parts of the wave

  • Accuracy of calculating the frequency and amplitude of the wave

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Learning Activity traveling around the world.

  • Listen to the story and discuss with the class

  • Using the materials create a wave and demonstrate different frequencies and amplitudes

  • Draw a wave

  • Label the parts of the wave

  • Calculate the frequency and amplitude of a wave

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Enrichment Activities traveling around the world.

  • Complete a report on a professional surfer

  • Design an experiment showing the movement of energy through a wave

  • Create an activity that reviews the parts of the wave