Physics KS3 / GCSE: The GB surfing team demonstrate different types of waves

Jon Chase is on Croyde Beach in Devon, headquarters of the junior GB surfing team.

His mission is to find out what different types of wave there are and how they work.

With Britain's best young surfers, Jon investigates sea waves.

How does the wave travel towards the shore, but the sea water does not?

Using demonstrations on the beach and his animated sketchbook Jon looks at the two main types of wave: transverse and longitudinal.

Sea waves, light waves, and Mexican waves are all transverse waves.

Sound waves are longitudinal waves.

This clip is from the series Wave World.

Teacher Notes

Key Stage 3

Could be used effectively to introduce the concept of waves at the start of the topic looking at sound and light.

Teachers might first recap on prior learning from KS1 and KS2 about how sound and light travel, by asking pupils to 'mind-map' what they already know.

Teachers could then ask pupils to discuss the big question: why do waves on the sea move but the sea does not move very far?

Pupils could use a 'slinky spring' to reinforce the explanation of transverse and longitudinal waves, with a coloured marker attached so that they can see that each link in the spring does not move along the spring, but simply moves either up and down (transverse waves) or backwards and forwards (longitudinal waves).

They might then use ripple tanks to investigate different wave patterns and the reflection, refraction and superposition (adding or cancelling out) of waves.

Pupils could analyse data on the speed of sound in different materials and use this to write an explanation using particle theory.

Key Stage 4

Could be used to introduce wave motion and the idea of how natural phenomena can be used to illustrate the use of the wave model as a key concept in science.

Useful as a simple recap on the difference between transverse and longitudinal waves from KS3.

They might then use ripple tanks to investigate different wave patterns and the reflection, refraction and superposition of waves.

They could discuss the energy changes in different waves.

Curriculum Notes

This clips is relevant for teaching Physics at KS3 or KS4 and National 4/5.

This appears in AQA, OCR, EDEXCEL, WJEC GCSE in England and Wales, CCEA GCSE in Northern Ireland and SQA National 5 in Scotland.