An introduction to the concepts of simple harmonic motion, harmonic waves, fundamental quantities of waves (period, frequency, wavelength, amplitude) as well as longitudinal and transverse waves.

What do guitar strings, Earth’s rotation around the Sun, a pendulum’s or a cradle’s motion and an oscillating spring have in common?

Through this series of experiments, 3rd grade of Gymnasium students will be introduced to the concepts of simple harmonic motion and harmonic waves, as well as to fundamental quantities of oscillations, such as period, wavelength, frequency and amplitude.

Students will explore the difference between transverse and longitudinal waves and the difference between oscillations and waves. Finally, students will experiment with sound properties and will explore the hearing mechanism and the waveforms that develop on the surface of solid objects.

Topics Covered

  1. Simple harmonic motion.
  2. Period, frequency, wavelength, oscillation amplitude.
  3. Springs.
  4. Simple pendulum.
  5. Energy in simple harmonic motion.
  6. Mechanical waves.
  7. Wavelength, frequency.
  8. Simple harmonic motion – harmonic waves – sine wave.
  9. Transverse and longitudinal waves.
  10. Sound.
  11. Visualization of sound waves (Chladni patterns).
  12. How the ear works.

Learning Objectives

Introduction to the fundamental concepts of oscillations and mechanical waves.
Demonstration of complex concepts in a simple, interesting and fun way.
Develop critical thinking.
Relate fundamental physics laws and principles to everyday life phenomena.