Review the qualitative and quantitative aspects of waves including wavelength, frequency, amplitude, velocity, reinforcement and interference. Compare longitudinal and transverse waves by studying sound and light. Study the different waves of the electromagnetic spectrum and learn from the application of waves in areas including Echolocation, Radio Broadcasting, Cellular Phones, Rainbows, etc.


Students will be divided into groups and challenged with one or several thought provoking questions. Groups will then complete a handout of challenge questions about waves by researching pre-determined sites on the Internet. Each question will then be reviewed and groups will take turns explaining their responses. Further research can be conducted on x- rays, gamma rays, or any of the wavelengths, and how they are significant to science, medicine, and other fields. The greenhouse effect can also be an interesting expansion, as can cellular phones.


Computers with Internet Access, and copies of the Handout.


Class should be divided into 4-5 groups. Students will blindly select an index card. Each card will have the number of a local radio station written on it. All students with the same number will then be in the same group. Students will then be challenged through questions such as: "What does the number on your card represent?", "What are the units that belong with that number?", "How do cellular phones work?", "What do 97.5 (local radio station), dolphins, rainbows, and an Ear Nose and Throat Doctor have in common?" or "Why do some organizations currently want to ban Cellular Phones?". . No answers should be given during this discussion.


Groups are given the Internet Wave Activity Handout and informed they will be researching certain sites on the Internet in order to complete the Handout. Be sure to guide the students regarding the computer lab procedure that should be followed. All groups would then proceed to answer the first two challenges by visiting the respective websites. (see Internet Wave Activity Handout)/ Students should be informed that in case they have any general questions about waves, they can visit either of the following sites.

http://pdg.lbl.gov/cpep/waves.html Waves properties

http://zebu.uoregon.edu/~soper/Light/frequency.html Wave equations

After completing the first 2 challenges, each group should select 3-4 (time dependent) of the remaining six challenges to complete.


Once sufficient time has been allowed for the students to complete the Handout, class should reconvene as a large group. Each of the challenge questions on the Handout should be addressed and responded individually. Any of the groups that answered each of the challenges should share with the class the information their research provided them. Every group should answer at least one of the challenges during this time. Non presenting groups should be allowed to comment and complement once a certain group has presented their response to a certain challenge question.


Further research can be done on other wavelengths within the spectrum. Groups could research gamma rays, x-rays, uv rays, etc. and create a brief presentation regarding what they are, what benefits they offer, and what hazards may exist because of them. A focus on the Greenhouse effect or cellular phones could also be quite interesting.

Internet Wave Activity Handout


Group Members: __________________________ Group #: _________







Every group should complete Challenge #1 and #2. Each group then may select 3 of the remaining challenges to complete.

NOTE: Many of these sites contain a great deal of material. Thus, you should skim each site to become familiar with its content.

Internet Challenges:

Challenge # 1



Choose three colors with your cursor, by clicking on the color. For each color record its wavelength, describe its hue, and calculate its frequency (show your work).

Challenge # 2



Challenge # 3: Speed of Sound and the Medium



Challenge # 4: Blue Skies



Why is the sky blue?

If you were on Europa (one of the moons of Jupiter), would the sun look "yellow'"?

Why are sunsets red and orange?

Challenge # 5: Human hearing



Challenge # 6: Phone Shield



Challenge # 7: Echolocation



Challenge # 8: Singing in the Shower



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