The Science of Waves Recap

waves The Big MoSS

By: Disa McAlister, Executive Director

This past weekend we debuted The Science of Waves exhibit at Tumbleweed Ranch in Chandler. The cool weather helped us space out for the activities that did not need shade.
Our Waves Exhibit was designed by scientist Philipp Geiger, overseen by Exhibit Director Dana Sandoval.

The exhibit consisted of the following activities:

Waves The Big MoSS

Chladni Plate:

A flat plate with salt on top is hooked up to a speaker. The speaker plays an adjustable frequency that changes tone. Each frequency shakes the salt around on top of the plate until a pattern emerges. The pattern was due to the nodes and antinodes in the sound waves. We weren’t sure how horribly loud the speaker would be so we put this activity far away from the McCrosky House, just in case it hurt people’s ears. We also provided ear plugs.

Ropes and Waves:

See what a wave looks like! Using a jump rope, kids practiced making one wave, two waves, three waves and more. Depending on their frequency (speed), together with the ricochet wave, we learned about nodes (non moving spaces in waves) and antinodes (fast moving spaces in waves).

Wave Pool:

Our Exhibit Director, Dana Sandoval, has been building a large (super heavy) wave pool but today we used a very simple see-through plastic container to better understand nodes and antinodes. Using a paddle, kids experimented with getting the right frequency to catch bath toys in a node so they wouldn’t move, even though the water is moving. We also learned about beach waves and why water “breaks”.

Doppler Effect:

The Doppler effect is the increase or decrease in frequency (speed) as an object moves in relation to an observer. Everyone had the chance to experience the Doppler effect when the parents through whistling Nerf balls to each other while the children stood still. We also listened to passing cars for a change of tone frequency.

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