Progressive Wave
Light Sound and Waves

Episode 308: Preparation for the progressive waves topic

Teaching Guidance for 16-19 IOP TAP

Assess what your students already know; you may be able to move quickly through this material if you feel that your class is confident in particular areas.

Main aims of this topic

Progressive waves


Students will:

  • Distinguish between transverse and longitudinal waves by describing the motion of particles
  • Describe and represent waves graphically in terms of wavelength, frequency, displacement and amplitude
  • Derive and use the wave equation v = f ×  λ
  • Use an oscilloscope to look at waves and deduce their frequencies

Prior knowledge

Students should know that waves transfer energy without transferring matter. They should know about the waves of the electromagnetic spectrum.

As discussed above, students’ knowledge of waves will depend greatly on the course they have followed previously, and this topic gives an opportunity to bring all students to the same point of understanding.

We have not assumed that students have already studied oscillations.

Where this leads

Ensuring that students have a firm grasp of these fundamental ideas will make it easier for them to deal with the idea of superposition and its consequences (standing waves, interference and diffraction).

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