the Nuffield Curriculum Centre
the Nuffield Curriculum Centre
This resource contains a set of eight introductory experiments on wave reflections, appropriate for use in high school and middle school. Use of the ripple tank can be a powerful tool to help students visualize wave behavior in general. In these basic experiments, students are introduced to ripple tanks and gain confidence in using them by doing some simple experiments with pulses.
SEE RELATED ITEMS on this page for a Teachers' Guide on using ripple tanks, and for ripple tank experiments for the more advanced classroom.
This item is part of a much larger collection of physics/astronomy experiments, sponsored by the UK's Institute of Physics and funded by the Nuffield Curriculum Centre.
Metadata instance created
March 20, 2009
by Caroline Hall
August 22, 2016
by Lyle Barbato
Last Update when Cataloged:
October 17, 2007
AAAS Benchmark Alignments (2008 Version)
4. The Physical Setting
6-8: 4F/M4. Vibrations in materials set up wavelike disturbances that spread away from the source. Sound and earthquake waves are examples. These and other waves move at different speeds in different materials.
6-8: 4F/M7. Wave behavior can be described in terms of how fast the disturbance spreads, and in terms of the distance between successive peaks of the disturbance (the wavelength).
9-12: 4F/H6ab. Waves can superpose on one another, bend around corners, reflect off surfaces, be absorbed by materials they enter, and change direction when entering a new material. All these effects vary with wavelength.
11. Common Themes
6-8: 11B/M1. Models are often used to think about processes that happen too slowly, too quickly, or on too small a scale to observe directly. They are also used for processes that are too vast, too complex, or too dangerous to study.
9-12: 11B/H5. The behavior of a physical model cannot ever be expected to represent the full-scale phenomenon with complete accuracy, not even in the limited set of characteristics being studied. The inappropriateness of a model may be related to differences between the model and what is being modeled.
This resource is part of a Physics Front Topical Unit.
Topic: Wave Energy Unit Title: How Waves Move and Interact: Reflection, Refraction, Interference
Ripple tanks provide a powerful way to help students visualize wave behavior in general. This set of 8 introductory labs allows students to become comfortable with ripple tanks by doing some simple experiments with pulses. Appropriate for grades 6-12, with supervision.
Nuffield Curriculum Centre. (2007, October 17). Practical Physics: Basic Experiments with Ripple Tanks. Retrieved February 19, 2017, from http://practicalphysics.org/basic-experiments-ripple-tanks.html
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