What Are Waves?

Time to complete course: 13 min.

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About What Are Waves? Virtual Lab Simulation

Dr. One has built a brand new toy for you to play with, the Wave Blaster! In this simulation, you will learn about waves, their properties, types, and how they appear in the real world. Just be careful not to blow up the lab while you’re at it.


You will start by learning about waves and how they transport energy. Dr. One has left some popcorn out on the counter for you, so you take the brand new ‘Wave Blaster’, cook the popcorn, and demonstrate the connection between waves and energy. Everything is going well until…BOOM! 

Dr. One turns the power of the Wave Blaster up with catastrophic results. The lights and sound in the lab break and need to be fixed. You must help Dr. One get the lab functioning properly again before the next student arrives. Hopefully, you can do it before anyone notices.


You move to the first display showing light waves behaving not quite as they should be. Learn about amplitude and wavelength while manually adjusting the color and brightness of lights in the lab. After this minigame, you and Dr. One will move to the next section to fix the sound.


Dr. One shows you how sound waves travel in the lab with a detailed animation of oscillating air particles. You must create low frequency, high frequency, and standing waves to help fix the sound. Play a minigame where you must carefully select the right frequency at the right time to create your sound wave. Will you get everything back in order?

Wave speed

To finish up, Dr. One will demonstrate what waves look like as they move with a short animation of a transverse wave. You will learn about wave speed and how some waves travel faster than others. This will all make perfect sense by now since you are becoming a certified wave expert. After a mini quiz to recap your knowledge so far, Dr. One will thank you for your help and you’ll sneak out before the next student comes in. No one will ever know anything went wrong! 

Get Started Now

Join Dr. One for an introduction to waves. After the lab breaks, it is your job to fix it by learning about waves, their types, and parameters. Adjust the amplitude, frequency, and wavelength of the waves in the lab to finish your mission.

Techniques in Lab

  • Identifying wave parameters
  • Wave matching
  • Creating standing waves

Learning Objectives

  • Conceptually relate waves and energy
  • Categorize real-world examples of waves as longitudinal or transverse, and standing or progressive
  • Define wave parameters including amplitude, wavelength, period, frequency and wave speed

Simulation Features

Length – 13 minutes
Accessibility mode – Available
Languages – English

Examples of Related Standards

  • PS4.C-H1
  • HS-PS4-1

Screenshots of What Are Waves? Virtual Lab Simulation


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