Directions

1. Make waves of different sizes.
Use the Wave Simulator to make waves of different sizes. Look at how each affects a boat at rest, in an area with no current. Use the toolbar to change the wave height, or how tall waves are. Use the toolbar to change the wavelength, or how far apart the waves are. Use the toolbar to change the wave period. How do those changes affect the waves? How do they affect the boat?

2. Talk about the experience.
What did you have to change to make the waves bigger? Smaller? Faster? Slower? What did you have to change to make lots of waves? A few?

Quiz Yourself!

What is wave height?

Show Answer

Wave height is how tall waves are.

What You’ll Need

Background

Background Information

Waves are the movement of water. Watching the movement of waves helps you to understand their patterns.


Vocabulary

Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry

crest

Noun

the top of a wave.

current

Noun

steady, predictable flow of fluid within a larger body of that fluid.

Encyclopedic Entry: current

wave

Noun

moving swell on the surface of water.

wave height

Noun

the distance between a wave's trough and crest.

wavelength

Noun

the distance between the crests of two waves.

wave trough

Noun

the lowest part of a wave.

Learn More

Credits

Media Credits

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Writer

Ruth A. Musgrave

Editor

Christina Riska, National Geographic Society

Expert Reviewer

Julie Brown, National Geographic Society

Sources

adapted from National Geographic Xpeditions lesson “Introduction to Waves”

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