Comprehensive Tutorial on Mechanical Waves

 This site provides a comprehensive overview of wave mechanics, complete with simple simulations and extensions for both the student and the teacher. Characteristics of general mechanical wave behavior such as refraction, reflection, and interference are discussed. The application of wave mechanics to the phenomenon of sound is included. Students can find wave mechanics quite mysterious. The particles of the medium do not experience a net displacement, and yet the wave disturbance can travel long distances. Illustrations and explanations on this site help demystify the concept of wave propagation using clear and relatively simple language. The mathematics of simple harmonic motion is discussed in a conceptual way, and various harmonics in standing waves are illustrated as well. Sound as an example of a mechanical wave is explained and illustrated using simple but effective animations. The Doppler Effect is explained using several clear figures that illustrate wavelength compression in front of a moving source, and wavelength extension behind the moving source.

Standards & Objectives

Academic standards
CLE 3001.5.5
Analyze written and oral communication for persuasive devices.
CLE 3231.3.1
Explore conditions associated with how waves carry energy and simple harmonic motion.
CLE 3231.3.3
Understand wave mechanics.
CLE 3231.3.4
Examine the Doppler Effect.
CLE 3231.3.5
Explore the characteristics and properties of sound.
Alignment of this item to academic standards is based on recommendations from content creators, resource curators, and visitors to this website. It is the responsibility of each educator to verify that the materials are appropriate for your content area, aligned to current academic standards, and will be beneficial to your specific students.

Lesson Variations

Blooms taxonomy level: