A little wave goes a long way!
The mini wave model is small but mighty. With just a few minutes of set-up, it's just as good at demonstrating as its bigger siblings. This is a great model for waves that move, reflect, stand, and wiggle, perfect for a starter project in classrooms learning about waves and motion.
- What: Mini Wave Model
- Concepts: waves, propagation, physics
- Time: ~15 minutes to set up
- Cost: ~$1.50
- Bolts x 2 (with nuts that fit)
- Nuts x 40 (or so)
- Sticks (I used candy sticks, but cut dowel or other sticks work great, too)
- Block of wood (2x4 works great)
- Hot glue gun / hot glue
Hop on the wave!
Step 1: Post Up
Let's dive in! Grab a drill bit that's a little narrower than your bolt, and drill halfway through your block of wood. Add a nut and twist it in. Repeat on the other side, too.
If you want, you can add to posts on each side that are evenly spread apart. This can make the finished wave model a little more stable if you're having trouble with it.
Step 2: Tie Tightly
Starting with one post, tie your string, wrap around the other, and tie back to that original post. You want it about as tight as you can manage without needing to strain. Cut off the extra bit and add a little hot glue to keep all ends in place.
Step 3: Little Dumbbells
Make the world's smallest weight set!
Start by lining up your sticks, and marking the center of each one. You can do this quickly down a line once you got them all lined up. Add a nut to either end of each of your sticks. Add a little hot glue to each and repeat for your entire line. The weights will help the wave's momentum and propagation.
Step 4: Measure, Mark, and Glue
Choose a spacing for your dumbbells, and mark your string accordingly. I marked every 1/2" but decided to glue dumbbells every inch along the way. Apply glue to both strings and place the dumbbell over to fit snugly. When you reached the line, it's time to give a wave!
Step 5: Wave Hello!
Your wave model is ready for action!
Here are some things to try and notice:
- Tapping - give a light tap to different sticks. What's the difference between a tap in the middle and on the end.
- Reflection - watch a wave as it gets to the end and comes back. Which way does it go? Does it wave the same way as on the way there?
- Standing Waves - take a stick and wave it back and forth trying to get in beat with its reflected self. You can create nodes that move only small amounts.
Have fun, wave on, and keep exploring.