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Vibrations and Waves

Last Updated: Apr-20-2010

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Developed By

  John Samonie
Jesse Nowak
Alyce Pry
Sally Hayne

Lesson Title

  Vibrations and Waves

Length of Lesson

  Approximately five 60 minute class periods

Lesson Unit

  Sound and Light







Michigan Content Expectations

  P4.4 and P4.5


  Waves, Sound, Vibrations, Light


  • Book, pencils, notebook, etc...
  • Class laptops or PC Lab
  • Classroom response system
  • Slinkys
  • Coiled springs
  • Tuning forks





The following lesson plan is an introductory chapter on sound and light. For students to fullly understand sound and light, they need to understand the basic concepts of waves. This lesson includes the following major concepts...

  • Being able to distinguish between the different parts of a wave
  • The differernce bewteen period and frequency
  • Wave motion
  • Wave interference.

Big Idea(s)


1) Students should develope an understanding of wave motion.

2) Students should gain knowledge of the types of waves and what they are responsible for.

2) Students should understand how wave speed and amplitude is important to the overall impact of a wave.


Essential Questions


1) How do waves affect us?

2) List several examples of waves.

3) What are the parts of a wave?

4) Draw and label the parts of a wave.

5) How are the frequency and period of a wave related?

6) What happens when waves interact?

7) How is the speed of a wave calculate?



Learning Objectives


Students should be able to...

  • Label the different parts of a wave
  • Explain the difference between period and frequency
  • Calculate freqeuncy given period, and cacluate period given frequency.
  • Understand concepts of wave motion
  • Cacluate wave speed given frequency or period and wavelength
  • Understand concepts involving wave interference. 
  • Know what a standing wave is, and understand how a standing wave is formed.

Summative Assessment


Student will have two form of summative assesment both of which they are responsible for.

1) The student will complete a lab on waves.  The lab will take into account the big ideas and learning objectives.

2) The student will be taking a end of chapter test.


Lesson Opening


The student will be watching two short video clips.  One on a surfer in the ocean and the other dealing with an explaination of the parts of a wave.  The student with then be asked to compare the waves in the ocean with the parts of the wave that they learned about in a short three sentence paragraph.


Lesson Opening Co-teaching Plan


The co-teacher will be responsible for assiting students having difficulty with the assignment.




There will be several parts to the explorations of this chapter.

1) The students will be asked to read the chapter or listen to the chapter via the book website.

2) The student can choose to create notecards for the parts of a wave, a story that will help them define and understand the parts of a wave, or a brochure the defines the parts of the wave (see attachment)  

3) The student will work with the "wave on a string" simulator on the PhET site and answer questions as they work.  At this time they will also watch a short video on teachertube "Longitudinal waves on a slinky spring."

Resource(s) available for this section

Exploration Co-teaching Plan


Through each part of the exploration the co-teacher and teacher will serve as coaches to the learning process.


Check for Understanding


Once the student have completed there notecards, stories, or brochures they will take a quiz on the parts of the wave using the clickers.  Although they will not be give a grade on this quiz they will be able to access there learning until that point.

The students' understanding will also be measured with questions assigned during the chapter and the lab they perform during the unit.

Lastly the student will be given two forms of a review.  First, they will be given a worksheet that questions the important concepts of the chapter.  Second, the students will be asked several multiple choice questions with the clicker system.  They will be able to judge whether they are prepared for the test and ask questions prior to the test.

Resource(s) available for this section

Check for Understanding Co-teaching Plan


The co-teacher will be able to work with any students that seem to need additional explanations prior to testing.




The student will have a guided note worksheet they will work on during class lecture (see attached).  In addition to lecture there will be several demonstrations on the different types of waves (standing wavers, longitudinal waves, transverse waves and wave interference).  Furthermore, tuning forks will be used to demostrate resonance and related to radiostations.

Resource(s) available for this section

Explanation Co-teaching Plan


The co-teacher will be observing to makes sure the kids are on task and to make sure the lesson is clear.


Check for Understanding (2)


Just before the test the students will run through a chapter review.  The review will be done with the clickers (see attached).  Any concepts were the student are struggling will be re-explained in a different manner from the first time.

Resource(s) available for this section

Check for Understanding Co-teaching Plan (2)


Any student that seems to be really off on the understanding will work with the co-teacher in a small group inorder to help grasp the concepts.


Extended Practice


If the students need a better explanation of waves the can listen to podcast 4.1-Itro to waves and sound on teacher tube.






For this particular lesson, students will be given their test back and the topics will be reviewed.


Closing Co-teach Plan


Co-teacher will assist in reviewing wave concpets.