Learning Exercise

Light Waves

An assignment to help your students understand how light travels using a slinky.

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· Review previous day’s lesson. Have students discuss what they remember about light.

· Students are separated into groups of three or four. Each group is given a worksheet and a slinky.
o Following the directions on the worksheet, two students are to hold each end of the slinky and swing it up and down in a wave-like motion. The remaining students in the group are to make observations.

· After allowing students enough time to complete the activity, come back together as a class to discuss observations, with the teacher posing the following questions:
o What happened when the ends of the slinky got closer together?
o What happened with the slinky was more stretched out?
o In which case did it take more work to wave the slinky?

· The instructor will then relate the movement of the slinky to the movement of light waves and the idea of frequency.

· Students will then complete the questions at the end of their lab sheet.


Technical Notes

Make sure to have enough slinkies for one for every group of 4.


A basic understanding of the composition of light is required.


light, waves

Type of Task

Learning Objectives

Students will understand that light travels in a series of waves. Students will also understand that a higher wave frequency requires more energy and a lower wave frequency requires less energy.