Make a wave demonstrator with Fizzics Education


Wave demonstrator

Wave demonstrator

Follow FizzicsEd 150 Science Experiments:

You will need:

  • Kebab sticks
  • String
  • Gaffa tape
  • Jelly babies
  • Somewhere to safely hang the wave demonstrator (out of the wind)


Wave demonstrator science experiment - materials needed
1 Wave demonstrator science experiment - rolling out the tape

Roll out at least three-meters of Gaffa tape onto the floor.

2 Wave demonstrator science experiment - placing the kebab sticks

Add many rows of 2 wooden kebab sticks along the sticky part of the gaffa tape. We gave our rows a bout a 10cm spacing.

3 Wave demonstrator science experiment - pushing jelly baby onto stick

Spike Jelly babies onto the ends of the kebab sticks.

4 Wave demonstrator science experiment - adding second row of tape

Roll out another three-meter length of Gaffa tape and cover the first length to secure the kebab sticks and to stop the wave demonstrator from being sticky.


Carefully hang the wave demonstrator from the ceiling so that it dangles downward without touching the floor or hitting anything else.

6 Wave demonstrator science experiment - ready to go

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!


Why Does This Happen?

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.

Learn more!


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