The Marine Seismology and Geoacoustics Group
Plymouth Wave Lab
Some Notes for Teachers

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     Many hands-on classroom demonstrations of waves (ropes, rubber bands, slinky's,...), while demonstrating the wave process are difficult to study in detail.   For example the waves often travel too fast for students to actually measure amplitude or wavelength, reflections from the ends set-up standing waves which can confuse students when you are trying to teach propagating waves, or the waves can attenuate quickly causing the amplitude to change along the string.   In this wave lab we show ideal waves on a string as mpeg files.   Students can start and stop the movie as they wish while they think about what is going on.   Some "snapshots" of the movies are available as handouts to the students so that they can easily measure the wave properties.

     The animations on these pages are not just cartoons of what we hope waves should look like.    They are numerical solutions to the partial differential equation for waves on a string.

     The wave animations on this site were prepared for Ralph Stephen's visit to Mary Lavin's seventh grade class at Plymouth Community Intermediate School in Plymouth, Massachusetts on October 8, 2004.   The topic for the class was "waves".   The PDF file Wave_Class_Questions.pdf contains class notes that were prepared for the visit.   These notes give one example of how this web site can be introduced into a middle school setting.

     On April 5th, 2005, at the NECOSE conference at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution this Power Point Presentation was given by Ralph Stephen.

     In December 2005 at the American Geophysical Union (AGU) Conference in San Francisco, California, Ralph Stephen presented this PDF file as a Poster .

Time Series of the Example Movies for the Plymouth Wave Lab

     This web page shows a series movies in the MPEG format.    To view these movies your browser needs to be able to view MPEG formatted files.    These files have the extent of .mpg (lower case!).    Both The Windows Media Player and Quicktime programs have been used to view these movies.    Be sure your browser knows how to view an MPEG file using the mpg extent.

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This page was updated by Tom Bolmer on 09/07/05.

Send comments and questions to:
Tom Bolmer
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
Woods Hole, Mass.