After voting for the LEGO® CUUSOO – Ladyada’s Workshop! project, I submitted this sine-wave-drawing gadget: http://lego.cuusoo.com/ideas/view/17603 . In the comments, @kiff9 wrote, “”I am having trouble understanding…. Could you explain in words that would make sense to a 13 year-old?””. I’m happy that kiff9 spoke up! I want to give a good answer and I’m seeking professional help :-).
So, my Ask-an-Educator question is: How do I explain this sine-wave-drawing contraption in words that would make sense to a 13 year-old?
Nice gadget! Very simple, yet effective.
As for explaining a sine wave to a 13 year old, I would start with a jump-rope. If two people stand apart holding a jump-rope (or any rope really) and one person begins to move the rope up and down so that it makes a complete 1-node standing wave. If the two people move closer together, while maintaining the complete wave, then you are increasing the amplitude and vice versa. Then if one person begins to move the rope up and down faster so that you make a 2-node standing wave, you have increased the frequency. Have them continue to see how many nodes they can make. Finally, if you wanted to you could have the two people walk in one direction while maintaining their wave and you have demonstrated a phase shift 🙂
Another way of to demo a sine wave is with a wave generator. This java app allows you to display and manipulate a mathematically based sine wave.
Good luck with your explanation and I hope I have helped!
Don’t forget, everyone is invited to ask a question!
“Ask an Educator” questions are answered by Adam Kemp, a high school teacher who has been teaching courses in Energy Systems, Systems Engineering, Robotics and Prototyping since 2005.
Have an amazing project to share? Join the SHOW-AND-TELL every Wednesday night at 7:30pm ET on Google+ Hangouts.
Join us every Wednesday night at 8pm ET for Ask an Engineer!
Learn resistor values with Mho’s Resistance or get the best electronics calculator for engineers “Circuit Playground” – Adafruit’s Apps!
Maker Business — “Inside One of the World’s Most Secretive iPhone Factories”
Wearables — With aging comes beauty
Electronics — Breadboard Capacitance
Biohacking — “1 Minute of All-Out Exercise May Have Benefits of 45 Minutes of Moderate Exertion”
Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.