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written by Tom Henderson
designer: the Nerd Island Studios
This mobile-ready Slinky simulation offers a host of ways to explore vibrations and waves. It provides multiple tools for investigating how frequency, tension, and density affect the vibrational motion of particles and the speed of a transverse wave as it moves through a medium. Users can manually create a wave or select auto-generated continuous waves. You can choose an open-end or fixed-end and adjust the period of the wave.

This item is part of The Physics Classroom, a web-based set of tutorials, interactive models, problem sets, and teaching tools for high school physics students and teachers.
Editor's Note: Given the robust array of tools available in this interactive model, it could be successfully introduced in both middle school and high school at almost any stage of a Waves unit.
Subjects Levels Resource Types
Education Practices
- Active Learning
= Modeling
Oscillations & Waves
- Wave Motion
= Transfer of Energy in Waves
= Transverse Pulses and Waves
= Wave Properties of Sound
- High School
- Middle School
- Lower Undergraduate
- Informal Education
- Instructional Material
= Interactive Simulation
Appropriate Courses Categories Ratings
- Physical Science
- Physics First
- Conceptual Physics
- Algebra-based Physics
- AP Physics
- Activity
- New teachers
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Intended Users:
General Public
Access Rights:
Free access
Additional information is available.
© 1996 Tom Henderson
frequency, wave energy, wave period, wave properties, wave simulator
Record Cloner:
Metadata instance created February 18, 2016 by Caroline Hall
Record Updated:
February 18, 2016 by Caroline Hall
Last Update
when Cataloged:
December 15, 2015

Next Generation Science Standards

Disciplinary Core Ideas (K-12)

Wave Properties (PS4.A)
  • A simple wave has a repeating pattern with a specific wavelength, frequency, and amplitude. (6-8)
  • The wavelength and frequency of a wave are related to one another by the speed of travel of the wave, which depends on the type of wave and the medium through which it is passing. (9-12)

Crosscutting Concepts (K-12)

Patterns (K-12)
  • Patterns can be used to identify cause and effect relationships. (6-8)
Structure and Function (K-12)
  • Complex and microscopic structures and systems can be visualized, modeled, and used to describe how their function depends on the shapes, composition, and relationships among its parts, therefore complex natural structures/systems can be analyzed to determine how they function. (6-8)

NGSS Science and Engineering Practices (K-12)

Developing and Using Models (K-12)
  • Modeling in 6–8 builds on K–5 and progresses to developing, using and revising models to describe, test, and predict more abstract phenomena and design systems. (6-8)
    • Develop and use a model to describe phenomena. (6-8)
  • Modeling in 9–12 builds on K–8 and progresses to using, synthesizing, and developing models to predict and show relationships among variables between systems and their components in the natural and designed worlds. (9-12)
    • Use a model to predict the relationships between systems or between components of a system. (9-12)
Using Mathematics and Computational Thinking (5-12)
  • Mathematical and computational thinking at the 9–12 level builds on K–8 and progresses to using algebraic thinking and analysis, a range of linear and nonlinear functions including trigonometric functions, exponentials and logarithms, and computational tools for statistical analysis to analyze, represent, and model data. Simple computational simulations are created and used based on mathematical models of basic assumptions. (9-12)
    • Use a computational representation of phenomena or design solutions to describe and/or support claims and/or explanations. (9-12)

AAAS Benchmark Alignments (2008 Version)

4. The Physical Setting

4F. Motion
  • 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).

11. Common Themes

11B. Models
  • 6-8: 11B/M4. Simulations are often useful in modeling events and processes.
  • 6-8: 11B/M5. The usefulness of a model depends on how closely its behavior matches key aspects of what is being modeled. The only way to determine the usefulness of a model is to compare its behavior to the behavior of the real-world object, event, or process being modeled.
  • 9-12: 11B/H1a. A mathematical model uses rules and relationships to describe and predict objects and events in the real world.
ComPADRE is beta testing Citation Styles!

Record Link
AIP Format
T. Henderson, (1996), WWW Document, (https://www.physicsclassroom.com/Physics-Interactives/Waves-and-Sound/Slinky-Lab/Slinky-Lab-Interactive).
T. Henderson, The Physics Classroom: Slinky Lab (1996), <https://www.physicsclassroom.com/Physics-Interactives/Waves-and-Sound/Slinky-Lab/Slinky-Lab-Interactive>.
APA Format
Henderson, T. (2015, December 15). The Physics Classroom: Slinky Lab. Retrieved February 6, 2023, from https://www.physicsclassroom.com/Physics-Interactives/Waves-and-Sound/Slinky-Lab/Slinky-Lab-Interactive
Chicago Format
Henderson, Tom. The Physics Classroom: Slinky Lab. December 15, 2015. https://www.physicsclassroom.com/Physics-Interactives/Waves-and-Sound/Slinky-Lab/Slinky-Lab-Interactive (accessed 6 February 2023).
MLA Format
Henderson, Tom. The Physics Classroom: Slinky Lab. 1996. 15 Dec. 2015. Nerd Island Studios. 6 Feb. 2023 <https://www.physicsclassroom.com/Physics-Interactives/Waves-and-Sound/Slinky-Lab/Slinky-Lab-Interactive>.
BibTeX Export Format
@misc{ Author = "Tom Henderson", Title = {The Physics Classroom: Slinky Lab}, Volume = {2023}, Number = {6 February 2023}, Month = {December 15, 2015}, Year = {1996} }
Refer Export Format

%A Tom Henderson %T The Physics Classroom: Slinky Lab %D December 15, 2015 %U https://www.physicsclassroom.com/Physics-Interactives/Waves-and-Sound/Slinky-Lab/Slinky-Lab-Interactive %O text/html

EndNote Export Format

%0 Electronic Source %A Henderson, Tom %D December 15, 2015 %T The Physics Classroom: Slinky Lab %V 2023 %N 6 February 2023 %8 December 15, 2015 %9 text/html %U https://www.physicsclassroom.com/Physics-Interactives/Waves-and-Sound/Slinky-Lab/Slinky-Lab-Interactive

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Citation Source Information

The AIP Style presented is based on information from the AIP Style Manual.

The APA Style presented is based on information from APA Style.org: Electronic References.

The Chicago Style presented is based on information from Examples of Chicago-Style Documentation.

The MLA Style presented is based on information from the MLA FAQ.

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