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written by the The PhET Project and Trish Loeblein
This page contains a set of 67 concept (clicker) questions with answer key on the topic of waves, available for free download in Power Point or pdf format.  It is a PhET Gold Star award-winning resource, developed for use with PhET interactive simulations on waves.  Concept questions are intended to introduce a topic and probe students' existing beliefs prior to formal instruction.  Students discuss their viewpoints, then "vote" on the correct response to the concept question.  The use of concept questions has been extensively tested by physics education researchers and correlated with improved learner outcomes. The clicker questions were created specifically to supplement the following PhET simulations:  Fourier: Making Waves, Sound, Wave on a String, Wave Interference, Geometric Optics, and Resonance.
This resource is part of a set of teacher-created materials developed to supplement the PhET collection of interactive physics simulations.
Subjects Levels Resource Types
Education Practices
- Technology
= Audience Response
Oscillations & Waves
- Wave Motion
= Doppler Effect
= Interference and Diffraction
= Longitudinal Pulses and Waves
= Transverse Pulses and Waves
= Wave Properties of Sound
- High School
- Instructional Material
= Activity
= Best practice
- Assessment Material
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- Educators
- Learners
- application/ms-powerpoint
- application/pdf
- text/html
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© 2008 The PhET Project
Fourier, Fourier, Fourier Analysis, PHET, Phet, clicker questions, concept questions, sound waves, wave interference, waves
Record Cloner:
Metadata instance created March 23, 2009 by Caroline Hall
Record Updated:
August 18, 2016 by Lyle Barbato
Last Update
when Cataloged:
March 31, 2008
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AAAS Benchmark Alignments (2008 Version)

4. The Physical Setting

4E. Energy Transformations
  • 6-8: 4E/M2. Energy can be transferred from one system to another (or from a system to its environment) in different ways: 1) thermally, when a warmer object is in contact with a cooler one; 2) mechanically, when two objects push or pull on each other over a distance; 3) electrically, when an electrical source such as a battery or generator is connected in a complete circuit to an electrical device; or 4) by electromagnetic waves.
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/M5. Human eyes respond to only a narrow range of wavelengths of electromagnetic waves-visible light. Differences of wavelength within that range are perceived as differences of color.
  • 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/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.

Common Core State Standards for Mathematics Alignments

Standards for Mathematical Practice (K-12)

MP.3 Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others.

Functions (8)

Use functions to model relationships between quantities. (8)
  • 8.F.5 Describe qualitatively the functional relationship between two quantities by analyzing a graph (e.g., where the function is increasing or decreasing, linear or nonlinear). Sketch a graph that exhibits the qualitative features of a function that has been described verbally.

High School — Algebra (9-12)

Creating Equations? (9-12)
  • A-CED.1 Create equations and inequalities in one variable and use them to solve problems. Include equations arising from linear and quadratic functions, and simple rational and exponential functions.
  • 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.?
Linear, Quadratic, and Exponential Models? (9-12)
  • F-LE.1.b Recognize situations in which one quantity changes at a constant rate per unit interval relative to another.
Trigonometric Functions (9-12)
  • F-TF.5 Choose trigonometric functions to model periodic phenomena with specified amplitude, frequency, and midline.?
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The PhET Project and T. Loeblein, PhET Teacher Ideas & Activities: Wave Clicker Questions (2008), <>.
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The PhET Project, & Loeblein, T. (2008, March 31). PhET Teacher Ideas & Activities: Wave Clicker Questions. Retrieved June 22, 2024, from
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