Course Summary – Waves
By middle school, students have heard about waves but likely have had little science instruction on the topic. This is developmentally appropriate, because the fundamental characteristics that describe wave behavior and properties are described in terms of mathematical relationships and graphical models that are best suited for students in middle school.
This puts teachers of FOSS Waves in an exciting position, with the opportunity to delve into new content and challenge students to think about concepts they have never considered before. And the content of FOSS Waves is equally exciting to students as they manipulate springs and lasers to determine properties that eventually will be used to explain how their cell phones work. The classroom will be abuzz with excitement throughout this course.
The course proceeds from the most concrete observations, those of physical properties of mechanical waves, to the most abstract concepts, by which students develop a model of electromagnetic waves. Students will also delve into engineering applications and real-life connections along the way. Students leave this course with a greater appreciation and understanding of modern communications technology and a solid foundation for high school and college physics. The driving question for the course is how is energy transferred through waves?
FOSS Waves is a stand-alone 6-week course. For a description of each investigation in Waves and correlations to the Next Generation Science Standards, download the Waves Course Overview PDF.
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