Science - 2019-20

PH.8 a-b - Wave Characteristics and Processes

The student will investigate and understand wave phenomena. Key concepts include

a)  wave characteristics; and

b)  fundamental wave processes.

Bloom's Levels:  Analyze; Understand

Adopted: 2010


  • I can explain why a glass will shatter at certain frequencies.
  • I can tell when a singer is out of tune with the music.


The concepts developed in this standard include the following:

  • Mechanical waves transport energy as a traveling disturbance in a medium.
  • In a transverse wave, particles of the medium oscillate in a direction perpendicular to the direction the wave travels.
  • In a longitudinal wave, particles of the medium oscillate in a direction parallel to the direction the wave travels.
  • Wave velocity equals the product of the frequency and the wavelength.
  • For small angles of oscillation, a pendulum exhibits simple harmonic motion.
  • Frequency and period are reciprocals of each other.
  • Waves are reflected and transmitted when they encounter a change in medium or a boundary.
  • The overlapping of two or more waves results in constructive or destructive interference.
  • When source and observer are in relative motion, a shift in frequency occurs (Doppler effect).
  • Reflection is the change of direction of the wave in the original medium.
  • Refraction is the change of direction of the wave at the boundary between two media.
  • Diffraction is the spreading of a wave around a barrier or an aperture.
  • Electromagnetic waves can be polarized by reflection or transmission.
  • Polarizing filters allow light oriented in one direction (or component of) to pass through.


In order to meet this standard, it is expected that students will

a) identify examples of and differentiatebetween transverse and longitudinal waves, using simulations and/or models.

     illustrate period, wavelength, and amplitude on a graphic representation of a wave.

     solve problems involving frequency, period, wavelength, and velocity.

b-c) distinguish between superimposed waves that are in-phase and those that are out-of-phase.

     graphically illustrate reflection and refraction of a wave when it encounters a change in medium or a boundary.

     graphically illustrate constructive and destructive interference.

     identify a standing wave, using a string.


Updated: Dec 01, 2017