IP Topics

Longitudinal and Transverse Waves

I modified Tom Walsh’s original GeoGebra app to add a single oscillating particle for students to observe the direction of oscillation, as well as to optimise it for the Student Learning Space.

You can choose to shift the particle that you want to focus on.

The app can also be used to show how the displacement of a particle in a longitudinal wave can be mapped onto a sinusoidal function, similar to the shape of a transverse wave. For example. a displacement of the particle to the right can be represented by a positive displacement value on the displacement-distance graph.

Here is an animated gif for those who prefer to insert it into a powerpoint slideshow instead:

Animation of longitudinal wave and transverse wave

This is the original app:

The good thing about GeoGebra apps is that everything is open-source – free for anyone to edit. Being able to read the “source code” or rather, the mathematical syntax used by others, I have learnt a lot. For example, I learnt how to use Sequences from this original app to generate oscillating lines with different phases.

Movement of Particle in a Wave

This GeoGebra app allows students to observe closely the movement of a particle in a progressive wave, with two possible directions of energy propagation.

In a typical question, students will be asked to predict the next movement of a particle given that a wave is moving left or right. Usually, students will need to imagine the waveform shifting slightly to the left or right in order to figure that out. This app follows the same visualisation technique to identify the subsequent movement of any particle along a wave.

Invisible Spheres using Hydrogel

I used this demonstration to start a conversation about refractive index with my IP3 kids. These hydrogels certainly generated a lot of excitement as the kids were fascinated with how invisible it becomes when placed in water.

You can get a 1000 (yes, one thousand!) of these for $1.29 at Shopee. Make sure to choose the transparent ones instead of the coloured version when checking out.

Say goodbye to the messy demonstration involving the soaking of glass in a beaker of vegetable oil or glycerin.

Magdeburg Hemispheres

As promised, I am sharing another purchase made during this mid-term break for my kids.

Magdeburg hemispheres are used to demonstrate the power of atmospheric pressure. This simple demonstration kit consists of two plastic hemispheres, a rubber ring, a one-way valve, a syringe and some rubber tubing.

First, the one-way valve and the syringe are attached to the hemisphere that has a nozzle.

The two hemispheres are then placed together with the rubber ring between them. The rubber ring will serve as a seal as the hemispheres press against it when the air is pumped out.

As the syringe is pulled, the pressure inside the sphere decreases. This results in the atmospheric pressure being significantly larger than the internal pressure and thus, the hemispheres can not be pulled apart by hand.

To separate the hemispheres, remove the tubing and the hemispheres will simply fall apart as the internal pressure rises and reaches an equilibrium with atmospheric pressure.

The kit can be bought for less than S$3 here. There are other sellers that seem to offer lower prices, which I realised while doing a search for the keywords “Magdeburg Hemispheres” only after making the purchase because I was thinking it could not get any lower.