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Sound Wave Properties

We visit a recording studio to explore the properties of sound. We explore the speed of sound as well as how our ears interpret changes in frequency and amplitude of a sound wave.

Unit 6 Segment B: Sound Waves Properties We visit a recording studio to explore the properties of sound. We explore the speed of sound as well as how our ears interpret changes in frequency and amplitude of a sound wave.

Premiere Date: July 31, 2018 | Runtime: 00:12:43

Support Materials

Learning Objectives

-Differentiate between mechanical and electromagnetic waves.

-Compare and contrast the motions of waves with respect to their direction of propagation.

-Calculate the velocity of a wave given its frequency and wavelength.

-Understand how our ears interpret changes in frequency and amplitude of sound waves.

-Discuss what factors influence the speed of sound in air.

-Describe how the decibel scale compares sounds of different magnitudes of loudness.


Note-Taking Guide and Questions to Consider
Practice Problems
Speed of Sound in Air Lab


amplitude - the distance from the equilibrium position to the maximum or minimum intensity of a wave.

decibel (dB) - a unit of measurement that represents the logarithmic ratio between a sound wave’s highest and lowest pressure.

elasticity - how quickly the molecules of a material ‘bounce back’ after a wave has moved through them.

electromagnetic wave - oscillating electric and magnetic fields that need no physical medium through which to travel.

frequency (f) - the number of wavelengths that pass a given point per second; SI unit is the Hertz (Hz).

longitudinal wave - a wave that vibrates in the direction of propagation (e.g. sound waves).

mechanical wave - a wave requiring a physical medium through which to travel.

period (T) - the time it takes for one wave cycle to occur; SI unit is seconds (s).

timbre - the quality of a sound.

transverse wave - a wave that vibrates perpendicular to the direction of propogation (e.g. electromagnetic waves).

wavelength (λ) - The distance between two waves that includes on full compression and one full rarefaction of a sound wave or one full crest and one full trough of an electromagnetic wave; SI unit is meters (m).

Georgia Standards of Excellence

SP4Obtain, evaluate, and communicate information about the properties and applications of waves.

SP4.aDevelop and use mathematical models to explain mechanical and electromagnetic waves as a propagating disturbance that transfers energy. (Clarification statement: Mathematically describe how the velocity, frequency, and wavelength of a propagating wave are related.)

SP4.cConstruct an argument that analyzes the production and characteristics of sounds waves. (Clarification statement:Includes, but not limited to, Doppler Effect, standing waves, wavelength, the relationship between amplitude and the energy of the wave, and the relationship between frequency and pitch.)

SPS9Obtain, evaluate, and communicate information to explain the properties of waves.

SPS9.aAnalyze and interpret data to identify the relationships among wavelength, frequency, and energy in electromagnetic waves and amplitude and energy in mechanical waves.

SPS9.bAsk questions to compare and contrast the characteristics of electromagnetic and mechanical waves.

SPS9.cDevelop models based on experimental evidence that illustrate the phenomena of reflection, refraction, interference, and diffraction.

SPS9.dAnalyze and interpret data to explain how different media affect the speed of sound and light waves.

S8P4Obtain, evaluate, and communicate information to support the claim that electromagnetic (light) waves behave differently than mechanical (sound) waves.

S8P4.aAsk questions to develop explanations about the similarities and differences between electromagnetic and mechanical waves. (Clarification statement: Include transverse and longitudinal waves and wave parts such as crest, trough, compressions, and rarefactions.)

S8P4.dDevelop and use a model to compare and contrast how light and sound waves are reflected, refracted, absorbed, diffracted, or transmitted through various materials. (Clarification statement: Include echo and how color is seen but not interference and scattering.)

S8P4.eAnalyze and interpret data to predict patterns in the relationship between density of media and wave behavior (i.e., speed).

S8P4.fDevelop and use a model (e.g., simulations, graphs, illustrations) to predict and describe the relationships between wave properties (e.g., frequency, amplitude, and wavelength) and energy.

Request Teacher Toolkit

The Physics in Motion teacher toolkit provides instructions and answer keys for study questions, practice problems, labs for all seven units of study.  GPB offers the teacher toolkit at no cost to Georgia educators. It will be available in September 2018. To preorder your teacher toolkit, complete and submit this form to request the teacher toolkit. You only need to submit this form one time to get materials for all seven units of study.