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Middle School

Waves and Electromagnetic Radiation
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Once again, PhET has a great simulation called Sound. This simulation lets you see sound waves. Adjust the frequency or volume and you can see and hear how the wave changes. Move the listener around and hear what she hears. Flash is required.
Making Waves

Fourier: Making Waves

This is a simulation called “Making Waves” by PhET. Learn how to make waves of all different shapes by adding up sines or cosines. Make waves in space and time and measure their wavelengths and periods. See how changing the amplitudes of different harmonics changes the waves. Compare different mathematical expressions for your waves. Flash is required.
Virtual Ripple Tank

Virtual Ripple Tank

Need a ripple tank for each of your students, now you have one! The Virtual Ripple Tank is easy & fun to operate. This java virtual ripple tank aims to model the surface of a shallow pond. Your task is to investigate some of the intriguing phenomena associated with light and sound such as reflection, refraction, diffraction and interference either by viewing the set examples, or adding your own sources of ripples. Developed by Falstad. An elegant learning tool.

Sound Light Travel in Waves

This is a fun video about waves from FunScienceDemos on YouTube! Jared teaches us about sound and light waves using various models. Check out more of their videos at

Waves on a String

Waves on a String

This simulation by PhET is called Waves on a String. Explore the wonderful world of waves! Even observe a string vibrate in slow motion. Wiggle the end of the string and make waves, or adjust the frequency and amplitude of an oscillator. Works on all devices.
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Wave Simulator

This is a cool wave simulation by National Geographic Society! Students can adjust the wave period, wavelength and height to see how these changes will affect the wave. Try it out! Flash is required.
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Wave Properties (PS4.A)

  • A simple wave has a repeating pattern with a wavelength, frequency, & amplitude. (MS-PS4-1)
  • A sound wave needs a medium through which it can be transmitted. (MS-PS4-2)

Electromagnetic Radiation (PS4.B)

  • When light shines on an object, it is reflected, absorbed, or transmitted through the object, depending on the object’s material and the frequence of the light. (MS-PS4-2)
  • Light travels in a straight line, except at the surfaces between different transparent materials (e.g. air, water, air, & glass) where the light path bends. (MS-PS4-2)
  • A wave model of light is useful to explain brightness, color, and frequency-dependent bending of light at the surface of a media. (MS-PS4-2)
  • Because light can travel through space, it cannot be a matter wave like sound or water waves.(MS-PS4-2)
  • Digitized signals (sent as wave pulses) are a reliable way to encode & transmit information. (MS-PS4-3)

About NGSS

Next Generation Science Standards is a multi-state effort to create new education standards that are “rich in content and practice, arranged in a coherent manner across disciplines and grades to provide all students an internationally benchmarked science education.”


Our team from Temple University has developed this resource for all K-12 students and teachers of science. These vetted learning tools align to the NGSS. Find one we should include? Just fill out the form.

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Many of these science resources require Java and Flash. Click below to download.

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