Learning Resources

This topic covers the theory of waves and concepts associated with waves as carriers of energy. The topic covers many curriculum areas including, Stage 4/5 Science and Stage 6 Senior Science (theory of waves), Stage 6 Earth and Environmental Science (effects of wave behaviour on beaches and the impact of Tsunamis) and English (experimental factual writing and developing a presentation).

The topic engages students in a variety of learning activities including; internet research into the theory of waves, designing and building a model beach to analyse wave behaviour and conducting internet research into Tsunamis.

Waves as Carriers of Energy
Teaching/Learning Activities

Students will:

• As a class discuss the issues related to the study of ocean wave behaviour and the energy associated with ocean waves.

• Use the internet to gather information to investigate the features and characteristics that define wave properties (5.16).

• Use the internet to investigate ideas on the development of an experiment to simulate the characteristics of ocean wave behaviour (5.13.1).

• Plan a first-hand investigation that will model the features of wave behaviour (5.13.2).

• Perform a first-hand investigation and gather first-hand data associated with the wave behaviour experiment (5.14 and 5.15).

• Gather information from the internet to understand the properties, social issues and environmental issues of Tsunami waves (5.16).

• Prepare a presentation on Tsunamis and their impact on society (5.18).

• Use critical thinking to analyse their findings and make predictions on the features of waves in respect to understanding Tsunami behaviour (5.19).

Introductory Actvities:

• Exposition and class discussion of:
1. What are waves
2. How do waves propagate
3. What is the energy associated with waves

• Students perform first-hand experiments using ‘slinky springs’ to understand the general behaviour of waves.

• Students view the DVD “Step into Liquid” and discuss in groups the features and characteristics of waves caught by surfers.

Information Technology-based Activities:

• Students examine the website
The Physics Classroom using Worksheet A to learn about the features of waves.

• Students design an experiment to allow analysis of wave behaviour using Worksheet B.

• Students prepare a presentation with PowerPoint on the impact of Tsunamis using Worksheet C.

Follow-up Activities:

• Building the model based around the designed experiment for analysing wave behaviour.

• Perform experimental investigations and observations of wave behaviour using their model.

Related Activities:

• Examine other forms of wave energy such as sound, radio waves and light

• Investigate and explain why light waves can travel in a vacuum but sound waves cannot.

• Investigate other examples of waves as carriers of energy in nature, such as earthquakes. Examine the properties:
1. Method of propagation
2. Energy transfers
3. Impacts on the environment and society


• Internet using Internet Explorer
• PowerPoint
• Worksheets A, B and C
• Student material to build model associated with wave behaviour experiment


• Assessment of completed Worksheets A, B and C
• Assessment of formal write-up of experiment to analyse wave behaviour
• Assessment of PowerPoint presentation
• Assessment of wave experiment model
• Teacher and student reflection of the wave model and presentation