Science Reasoning Center - Vibrations and Waves

Here is our current listing of Science Reasoning activities for Vibrations and Waves. All activities can be used as a Guest without Task Tracker or as a logged-in student with Task Tracker. Learn more about Task Tracker for Science Reasoning activities.

Mass on a Spring

This activity describes the up and down motion of a mass on a spring using a diagram, a position-time graph, and a velocity-time graph. Questions target a student's ability to select values from a graph, to combine information from two different graphs to draw appropriate conclusions, to identify the amplitude and the period, and to interpret the graphs in light of information on a diagram.

Wave Speed

This three-part activity focuses on the variables that affect the speed of a wave in a Slinky. Information about three short student experiments are presented to students. Students analyze the design of the experiment, identify appropriate claims and the supporting evidence for such claims, and use the patterns in the data to predict the result of subsequent trials. The activity includes a wide collection of questions that target the HS-PS4-1 performance expectation of the NGSS.


Slinky Experiments

This NGSS-inspired activity includes three parts. Students investigate experimental data to determine the nature of the speed-wavelength-frequency relationship for waves traveling in a uniform medium. Students plan an investigation to determine what variables do and don't affect the speed of a wave. And finally, students investigate the values of a wave from one medium to another to predict numerical values of wavelength and frequency.


Period of a Pendulum

This activity describes three simple experiments conducted by students in order to determine the variables that affect the period of a pendulum. Each experiment is described and the results are presented in the form of a graph. Questions target a student's ability to understand the design of an experiment, to identify the effect of one variable upon another variable, to draw a conclusion that is consistent with collected data, to read values off a graph, to extrapolate beyond the range of values on a graph, and to use provided data to make a prediction about the period that would result under a given set of conditions.


Standing Waves on a Rope

This activity describes a collection of three experiments investigating the possible effect of three different variables upon the speed of a standing wave. The experiments are described and frequency-wavelength-speed data are presented in tables. Questions target a student's ability to understand the design of an experiment, to combine results from two or more data presentations in order to draw appropriate conclusions, to interpolate and extrapolate from data in a table, to predict the results of an additional trial, to translate information from a data table to a graph, and to make predictions based upon a model.