Waves 1.

We live right by the ocean, and so we are learning about waves. Mostly I learn about waves, and then when we are at the beach, the kids and I talk about waves. We get in the waves and name the parts of a wave, and talk about how they come about. So here’s the first lesson on waves. Keep in mind these are lessons on ocean waves, not the physics idea of a wave.

WAVES

Definition of a wave: Waves are the forward movement of the ocean’s water due to the movement of the water particles by the frictional drag of the wind over the water’s surface.

What makes different waves? Waves are all different. They can be different because of different winds, boats, the shape of the ocean floor, earthquakes, and other outside forces. Even you can make waves!

Swells versus waves. Swells are the regular motion of waves in an open ocean. Swells can range in size. But they travel in open ocean. They do not “break” and “crash.”

Breakers. Breakers are the waves that crest, and then crash into the shore. They come in all different shapes and sizes. The difference between the breakers depends on the shape of the ocean floor beneath them, the riptide pulling back out, and the energy in the wave itself.

Parts of a wave. Each wave has the same parts. They can change in size, but all waves have a crest and a trough. The crest is the top of the wave, the part that reaches the highest point. The trough is the lowest point of the wave under the still water.

Draw a wave

Here are the parts of an ocean wave. We focused on the crest and trough in this lesson. It's only the first lesson - we just stuck with the basics.

Here are the parts of an ocean wave. We focused on the crest and trough in this lesson. It’s only the first lesson – we just stuck with the basics.

Now that we have covered what a wave is, some different types of waves, and the two main parts of a wave, it is time to draw a wave!!!

All you need is markers (or crayons, paint, or your favorite art medium). Each student takes a piece of paper and draws a wave.

Then you label the crest and the trough, as well as write down if it is a swell, a breaker, or a different type of wave.

Nicholas drew huge breakers. Abby drew a ship and a wake for her waves. With dolphins underneath – so she wanted them to be swells, because they were in the open ocean. But it ended up being a wake because it was caused by a ship.

Visiting the waves

At the end of our lesson, we packed up and headed to the beach. We got into the ocean and yelled “crest” when we were in the crest of a wave and “trough” when we were in the trough of a wave. I also made my kids identify why the waves we were in are breakers and not a different type of wave.

 

 

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