Taking care with technical terms - frequency
Teaching Guidance for 14-16
Being precise when talking about frequency
Wrong Track: The frequency of a sound is how quickly it vibrates.
Right Lines: The frequency of a sound is measured in terms of the number of complete oscillations per second or hertz.
Encouraging precision when talking about waves
Thinking about the learning
When students are first introduced to these terms, there is a tendency for them to use the terms in a less than precise way.
Sound and light belong to different families of radiation and the members of those families are specified in terms of their velocity, frequency and amplitude.
Thinking about the teaching
It's worth making a fuss about getting definitions such as these correct.
We'd suggest encouraging students to take pride in being precise:
Teacher: Frequency! What do we mean by frequency? Remind us, Lucas!
Lucas: Errr, the number of complete oscillations made by any point on the wave each second.
Teacher: Perfect! Music to my ears! Well done, Lucas!