• 1. Talk about what you already know about waves.
    Have you ever seen, felt, or made a wave? Where can you find waves? Talk about it. Hint: Think beyond the ocean. You may have seen waves in a lake, puddle, pool, sink, bathtub, or other places.

    2. Figure out where in the world waves are.
    Look at a map or a globe. What areas are covered with water? Find the oceans and lakes. As you find each, talk about it. Is the water’s surface flat there? Does it have waves? Did you know that waves are found in bodies of water of all sizes? In oceans, you can find waves all the way across the ocean—not just at beaches.

    3. Look at photographs of ocean waves.
    Look at the photos of waves. How are these the same? How are they different? Can you figure out which is biggest, tallest, or longest? Think about what causes waves. One of the photographs has waves that look choppy. What do you think caused that? It's wind!

    4. Make your own waves.
    Fill a large pan with water. Tilt the pan in different directions to demonstrate how waves of different sizes are created. Make the water move in other ways. What happens when you blow on it? Put a cork in the pan to show a boat on the ocean. How does the cork move as the waves change size?

  • Materials You Provide

    • Cork
    • Globe
    • Large pan
    • Water

    Required Technology

    • Internet Access: Optional
    • Tech Setup: 1 computer per classroom, Projector

    Recommended Prior Activities

  • Background Information

    Waves are the movement of water. Seeing how waves move helps you to see patterns.


    Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry
    wave Noun

    moving swell on the surface of water.

  • For Further Exploration