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Catch a Wave!


As you begin your investigation you will need to pin down some basic terminology and phenomena that you will encounter along the way. During this exploration the entire class will be assigned groups composed of three or four students. Each student will have a specific task as indicated below. The purpose is to gain an understanding of basic wave characteristics and their relationships to each other and the medium through which the wave travels.

We will start with a large group demonstration where you will be introduced to mechanical waves and the basic characteristics of wave motion. Each group will need to pick up the following information before the demonstration:

     Wave terminologies sheet
     Wave Question/Prediction/Conclusion sheet

(I) Once you have these materials each group member should write their prediction for each question on their own paper (I). One prediction should be chosen by the group to write on the  Question/Prediction/Conclusion sheet. We will begin the demonstration when all groups have finished these predictions. Each person may wish to take notes during the demonstration and the group should definitely have some notes since information provided during the demonstration will not be repeated ad infinitum during the lab.

Once the demonstration is complete your group will be assigned one of the questions to study further as described below.

Each group will consist of two sub-groups - (1) Will be responsible for generating useful wave motion and communicating with the teacher - one or two people. (2) Will be responsible for measuring the wave characteristics - must be two people.

Materials provided for each group:
- 1.5 m of bulletin board paper - 1 double slinky - 1 timer
- 1 Question/Prediction/Conclusion sheet - 1 meterstick - 1 terms sheet

Further study

Part I - design an experiment

  1. Develop the procedures and analysis of an experiment that will provide an answer for your assigned question. You should also require a conclusion which answers your assigned question.
  2. Be sure to control all parts of the wave motion except for the dependent characteristic that is being studied in each of the demonstration questions. You should also require that at least three trials be completed and average values be used in the analysis and conclusion. Remember procedures usually involve data collection only and most calculations are part of an analysis.
  3. Each procedure should be tested by collecting/recording some sample data. This data should be recorded in a data table of your design.  The testing should be used to fine tune your procedure so that any other group could read your procedure and properly determine the answer to your question.
  4. At this point you should have an answer to your assigned question. Write (in pencil) your answer on your Question/Prediction/Conclusion sheet.
Part II - perform an experiment
  1. Acquire an experiment to another question from your teacher. Follow this procedure as you would any other lab in this class. You should have data/observations and calculations as needed.
  2. When you have completed this experiment write (in pencil) your answer on your Question/Prediction/Conclusion sheet.
Part III - discuss the experiments
  1. When all groups are finished with #1 and hopefully #2, each group will present their procedure and answer to their original assigned question. Discussion of this should provide all groups with the "correct" answers and an understanding as to how the  "correct" answer was arrived at, Sam.
  2. Write all "correct" answers on your Question/Prediction/Conclusion sheet..
(I) Part IV - individual conclusion
  1. Each group member should do the following on the same paper as your initial predictions:
  2. Compare your results for your assigned question with your initial prediction. Be sure to refer to your data collected in your explanation.
  3. Write the conclusion for each of the other questions as provided by the class discussion.(I)

Group Lab Report - do not include any individual work

Group cover sheet
Table of contents sheet
Attach your lab according to your table of contents

Individual Lab Report

Cover Sheet
Initial predictions
Part IV
Evaluation of lab group (1 paragraph)
Evaluation of lab (1 paragraph)