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written by Kyle Forinash
The Waves Interactive Tutorial website hosts a collection of interactive Physlet-based curricular material describing the fundamentals of waves. The tutorials emphasize concepts that are not usually easy to illustrate in textbooks. Physlet Java applets are used to illustrate the physics. The lessons begin with very simple wave properties and end with an examination of nonlinear wave behavior.
Ready-to-run examples (2)
View the supplemental documents attached to this resource (2)
View the source code documents attached to this resource (2)
Subjects Levels Resource Types
Education Practices
- Active Learning
= Modeling
- Geometrical Optics
- Polarization
Oscillations & Waves
- General
- Wave Motion
= Doppler Effect
= Impedance and Dispersion
= Interference and Diffraction
= Longitudinal Pulses and Waves
= Phase and Group Velocity
= Reflection and Refraction (Sound)
= Standing Waves
= Transverse Pulses and Waves
- Upper Undergraduate
- High School
- Lower Undergraduate
- Collection
- Instructional Material
= Interactive Simulation
= Tutorial
Intended Users Formats Ratings
- Learners
- Educators
- application/java
- text/html
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Access Rights:
Free access
© 2002 Kyle Forinash
fundamentals of waves, group velocity, wave behavior, wave dispersion, wave interference
Record Creator:
Metadata instance created August 17, 2005 by kyle forinash
Record Updated:
March 20, 2015 by Wolfgang Christian
Last Update
when Cataloged:
August 9, 2005
Other Collections:

AAAS Benchmark Alignments (2008 Version)

4. The Physical Setting

4F. Motion
  • 6-8: 4F/M4. Vibrations in materials set up wavelike disturbances that spread away from the source. Sound and earthquake waves are examples. These and other waves move at different speeds in different materials.
  • 6-8: 4F/M6. Light acts like a wave in many ways. And waves can explain how light behaves.
  • 6-8: 4F/M7. Wave behavior can be described in terms of how fast the disturbance spreads, and in terms of the distance between successive peaks of the disturbance (the wavelength).
  • 9-12: 4F/H5ab. The observed wavelength of a wave depends upon the relative motion of the source and the observer. If either is moving toward the other, the observed wavelength is shorter; if either is moving away, the wavelength is longer.
  • 9-12: 4F/H6ab. Waves can superpose on one another, bend around corners, reflect off surfaces, be absorbed by materials they enter, and change direction when entering a new material. All these effects vary with wavelength.
  • 9-12: 4F/H6c. The energy of waves (like any form of energy) can be changed into other forms of energy.

11. Common Themes

11B. Models
  • 6-8: 11B/M4. Simulations are often useful in modeling events and processes.

Common Core State Standards for Mathematics Alignments

High School — Algebra (9-12)

Creating Equations? (9-12)
  • A-CED.2 Create equations in two or more variables to represent relationships between quantities; graph equations on coordinate axes with labels and scales.
  • A-CED.4 Rearrange formulas to highlight a quantity of interest, using the same reasoning as in solving equations.

High School — Functions (9-12)

Interpreting Functions (9-12)
  • F-IF.4 For a function that models a relationship between two quantities, interpret key features of graphs and tables in terms of the quantities, and sketch graphs showing key features given a verbal description of the relationship.?
  • F-IF.5 Relate the domain of a function to its graph and, where applicable, to the quantitative relationship it describes.?
  • F-IF.9 Compare properties of two functions each represented in a different way (algebraically, graphically, numerically in tables, or by verbal descriptions).
Trigonometric Functions (9-12)
  • F-TF.5 Choose trigonometric functions to model periodic phenomena with specified amplitude, frequency, and midline.?

Common Core State Reading Standards for Literacy in Science and Technical Subjects 6—12

Craft and Structure (6-12)
  • RST.11-12.4 Determine the meaning of symbols, key terms, and other domain-specific words and phrases as they are used in a specific scientific or technical context relevant to grades 11—12 texts and topics.
Range of Reading and Level of Text Complexity (6-12)
  • RST.11-12.10 By the end of grade 12, read and comprehend science/technical texts in the grades 11—CCR text complexity band independently and proficiently.
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Record Link
AIP Format
K. Forinash, (2002), WWW Document, (
K. Forinash, Waves: An Interactive Tutorial, (2002), <>.
APA Format
Forinash, K. (2005, August 9). Waves: An Interactive Tutorial. Retrieved April 1, 2015, from
Chicago Format
Forinash, Kyle. Waves: An Interactive Tutorial. August 9, 2005. (accessed 1 April 2015).
MLA Format
Forinash, Kyle. Waves: An Interactive Tutorial. 2002. 9 Aug. 2005. 1 Apr. 2015 <>.
BibTeX Export Format
@misc{ Author = "Kyle Forinash", Title = {Waves: An Interactive Tutorial}, Volume = {2015}, Number = {1 April 2015}, Month = {August 9, 2005}, Year = {2002} }
Refer Export Format

%A Kyle Forinash
%T Waves: An Interactive Tutorial
%D August 9, 2005
%O application/java

EndNote Export Format

%0 Electronic Source
%A Forinash, Kyle
%D August 9, 2005
%T Waves: An Interactive Tutorial
%V 2015
%N 1 April 2015
%8 August 9, 2005
%9 application/java

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