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Make a wave demonstrator

You will need:

 
  • Kebab sticks, string, Gaffa tape & Jelly babies!
  • Somewhere to safely hang the wave demonstrator (out of the wind).

Instructions

  1. Roll out at least 3 meters of Gaffa tape on the floor.
     
  2. Place kebab sticks (or long thin pieces of wood) at even lengths along the Gaffa tape.
     
  3. Spike Jelly babies onto the ends of the kebab sticks.

    science classroom wave demonstrator
    Laying out the kebab sticks on the Gaffa tape
     
  4. Roll out another 3 meter length of Gaffa tape and cover the first length to secure the kebab sticks as well as to stop the wave demonstrator from being sticky.

    science classroom wave demonstrator
    Carefully rolling out the Gaffa tape

    Finished science classroom wave demonstrator
    Finished wave demonstrator ready to be hung in the classroom!
     
  5. Carefully hang the wave demonstrator from the ceiling so that it dangles downward without touching the floor or hitting anything.

    Hanging classroom wave demonstrator
    Hanging classroom wave demonstrator during a science club
     
  6. Give the wave demonstrator a 360 degree twist at the bottom of the tape, let go and watch the waves travel up and down the demonstrator!

The wave demonstrator really takes advantage of momentum, leverage and energy.

By twisting the Gaffa tape at the bottom of the demonstrator you are storing potential energy within the tape. This potential energy is released as the Gaffa tape unwinds, transferring the energy into kinetic energy outwards toward the Jelly babies on the end of the stick. Once moving, the Jelly babies have considerable momentum and so continue to spiral around the Gaffa tape, transferring most of that energy back into the Gaffa tape. The Gaffa tape can't help but twist up again, which causes the tape to then subsequently release the energy as it unravels yet again...transferring that the energy onwards to the next row of kebab sticks. The process continues until the energy dissipates out of the system.

This is a great demonstration of energy and not matter travelling throughout a system, which is essentially what happens in waves.

Want to know more about waves?
Fizzics runs Science of Sound school workshops. 
Find out more here!

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