Vernier Software and Technology
Vernier Software & Technology

Interference and Diffraction


The goal of this activity is for students to observe wave interference, identify variables that affect the characteristics of the interference, and determine the relationship between these variables and these characteristics.

In the Preliminary Observations students will observe a diffraction pattern in light or sound. They will identify several factors that they think may influence the diffraction pattern and select one to investigate using a Vernier Diffraction Apparatus. Since groups may be investigating different factors, you will need a class discussion after the investigations to summarize the class's findings.

Learning Outcomes

  • Design and perform an investigation.
  • Draw a conclusion from evidence.
  • Understand how the principle of wave interference can create the series of bright and dark spots that form diffraction patterns.
  • Develop a model that relates at least one variable that affects interference or diffraction patterns.

Sensors and Equipment

This experiment features the following Vernier sensors and equipment.

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

  • Cause and Effect
  • Systems and System Models
  • Energy and Matter
  • Influence of Science, Engineering and Technology on Society and the Natural World
  • Stability and Change

Science and Engineering Practices

  • Asking Questions and Defining Problems
  • Planning and Carrying Out Investigations
  • Analyzing and Interpreting Data
  • Engaging in Argument from Evidence
  • Using Mathematics and Computational Thinking
  • Obtaining, Evaluating, and Communicating Information

Experiment 29 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.

Buy the Book

Go to top