Vernier Software and Technology
Vernier Software & Technology

Wave Speed on a String

Introduction

The goal of this activity is for students to identify and predict the effect of string tension, string length, and linear density of a string on the wave velocity through that string. From their investigation of one of these factors students will, as a class, construct a model that shows the relationship between these factors.

In the Preliminary Observations, students will observe a stringed instrument or hollow box with rubber bands across an open side. Students should identify a couple of factors that may influence the wave speed on the strings such as string tension, thickness/weight of string, and string length.

During their investigations, students will determine the relationship between one factor and wave speed. Since groups may be investigating different factors, you will need a class discussion after the investigations to summarize the class's findings.

We recommended a specific equipment setup in order to narrow the focus of the investigation. However, students should be encouraged to consider other approaches that effectively isolate the variable of interest.

Learning Outcomes

  • Design and perform an investigation.
  • Draw a conclusion from evidence.
  • Identify string tension and mass per unit length as the determining factors of wave speed on a string.
  • Create a model for factors affecting wave speed on a string.

Sensors and Equipment

This experiment features the following Vernier sensors and equipment.

Option 1

Option 2

Option 3

Additional Requirements

You may also need an interface and software for data collection. What do I need for data collection?

Next Generation Science Standards

Disciplinary Core Ideas

PS4.A Wave Properties

Crosscutting Concepts

  • Patterns
  • Cause and Effect
  • Systems and System Models
  • Energy and Matter

Science and Engineering Practices

  • Developing and Using Models
  • Planning and Carrying Out Investigations
  • Analyzing and Interpreting Data
  • Using Mathematics and Computational Thinking
  • Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions
  • Obtaining, Evaluating, and Communicating Information

Physics Explorations and Projects

See other experiments from the lab book.

1Constant Motion and Changing Motion
2Balanced Forces and Unbalanced Forces
3Gravitation on Earth
4Newton’s Second Law
5Projectile Challenge
6Impulse and Momentum
7Equilibrium of Forces
8Circular Motion
9Conservation of Momentum
10Egg Protection Challenge
11Springs Making Things Move
12Kinetic Energy and Mass
13Work and Kinetic Energy
14Work Done by Gravity
15Energy in Collisions
16Rube Goldberg Machine
17Charge and Charge Models
18Coulomb's Law
19Measuring Electric Current
20Conservation of Charge
21Voltage in a Circuit
22Battery Challenge
23Magnetic Field of a Current
24Current from a Changing Field
25Generating Electricity
26Speaker
27Wave Speed on a String
28Speed of Sound
29Interference and Diffraction
30Sound and Loudness
31Wave Communication Challenge
32Energy Storage in Capacitors
33Oscillations
34Heat as Energy Transfer
35Solar Cells
36Rube Goldberg Machine Revisited

Experiment 27 from Physics Explorations and Projects Lab Book

<i>Physics Explorations and Projects</i> book cover

Included in the Lab Book

Vernier lab books include word-processing files of the student instructions, essential teacher information, suggested answers, sample data and graphs, and more.

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