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Sunday, February 7

Interactive Science Simulations

Fun, interactive, research-based simulations of physical phenomena from the PhET project at the University of Colorado.

Run our Simulations
Full Installation

Work, Energy & Power
Heat & Thermo
Light & Radiation
Sound & Waves
Quantum Phenomena
Electricity, Magnets & Circuits

Teacher Ideas & Activities
Search for lessons created by teachers using PhET simulations.
Workshops Provide ideas you've used in class

Radioactive : Power

Sunday, January 11

Waves in a Ripple Tank: A Virtual Activity

Waves in a Ripple Tank: A Virtual Activity

Go to the site A “Ripple Tank Applet” window will open that runs a simulation of waves generated in a ripple tank.

By “clicking on” any or all of the three task bars in the upper right hand corner of the applet window, you can change the type and number of wave sources. The third task bar allows you to use the mouse to edit the waves or walls (barriers). You can adjust the speed, resolution, frequency, brightness, and/or damping of the wave simulation to obtain a clearer representation of the wave phenomena. A complete and detailed set of directions for how to use this simulation is linked to the web page.

Your task is to use this web site to identify and investigate various wave properties and characteristics. You will hand in pictorial representations of…

Circular Wave
long wavelength
shorter wavelength
Plane Wave
long wavelength
shorter wavelength
Plane Wave Off Angled Straight Barrier
Plane Wave Off Concave (Parabolic) Barrier
Circular Wave Off Straight Barrier

Plane Wave Around a Barrier
Plane Wave Through an Opening
Circular Wave Around a Barrier
Circular Wave Through an Opening
Refraction of a Plane Wave
Refraction due to Temperature Gradient (simulates sound wave over lake)
Two Circular Waves (wide spacing between sources)
Two Circular Waves (closer spacing between sources)
One Plane and One Circular Wave (this is a tricky one to simulate!)
Single Slit (plane wave)
Double Slit (plane wave)
Triple Slit (plane wave)
Doppler Effect
Something else you find really interesting

You have two options for completing this assignment:

· Make small (about 4 in. x 4 in.) sketches with colored pens/pencils…OR…
· Use a “screen capture” program to copy and paste the actual images from the applet window into a document (MS Word with text boxes, for example), which can then be saved and printed.

You can download a free trial version of an easy to use screen capture program at The image shown on this handout was “captured” using this program.

Another option is to use the “print screen” function on the keyboard and then paste the picture in your report. Pressing “print screen” (Prnt Scrn) on the keyboard copies the entire screen, so you may want to enlarge the ripple tank window to fill the entire screen.

You can probably fit 6 diagrams/sketches on each side of a page. Be sure to label each sketch.

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