About Waves

In physics, a wave is an oscillation accompanied by a transfer of energy that travels through medium (space or mass). Frequency refers to the addition of time. Wave motion transfers energy from one point to another, which displace particles of the transmission medium — that is, with little or no associated mass transport. Waves consist, instead, of oscillations or vibrations (of a physical quantity), around almost fixed locations.

For Teachers

Key Concepts

Simple waves can be described by their amplitude, wavelength and offset. They can be combined to form a new wave, following rules of constructive and deconstructive interference.

Topics Addressed

  • Wave Properties
  • Developing and Using Models
  • Amplitude, Offset, Wavelength, Frequency

Standards Covered

  • MS-PS4-1
  • MS-PS4-2
  • PS4.A


The Wave Simulator will support exploration of the following concepts:

  • Waves have Properties
  • Amplitude is the height of the pulse.
  • A wave with amplitude of 0 is a flat line.
  • Wavelength is the width of the pulse.
  • Offset
  • When two waves meet each other and fill the same space, they combine by summing together.
  • If wave-a is at 1 and wave-b is at 1, that point will become a 2.
  • If wave-a is at 0 and wave-b is at 1, that point will become a 1. It’s like wave-a didn’t influence wave-b.
  • If wave-a is at -1 and wave-b is at 1, the values will cancel out and the combined wave will be a 0 at that point.