Stringwave is a colorful interactive program in which students can create the settings to demonstrate acoustic principles and set the demonstration in motion. Students can adjust amplitude, frequency and tension, as well as fixed or loose end and manual/oscillate/pulse.
Stringwave is part of a website that contains a collection of simulations and learning activities related to the physical sciences. It is available in many languages.
Type of Material:
Simulation, related teaching materials
In class demonstration of specific acoustic principles (standing wave), as a lab assignment (which has been added to the Merlot site). Best used as an individual assignment, since it is so much fun to play with.
Java and Flash
Identify Major Learning Goals:
According to the authors, the objectives of the website is to provide fun, interactive, research-based simulations of physical phenomena at no cost. Each simulation is accompanied by teaching resources including learning objectives, activities and difficulty ratings of the materials.
Target Student Population:
Elementary, high school, and college.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
Basic knowledge of acoustic terminology and principles.
Characteristics that can be manipulated include tension, amplitude, frequency, damping, fixed or loose ends. A wide variety of acoustic concepts can be demonstrated in a fun and entertaining way.
Materials lack a depth of concept for the learner.
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
Very well developed and researched learning tools for use by the instructor. Includes an updated newsletter with helpful information.
The main PhET page offers learning objectives and basic terminology. There is also a long list of sample learning units with pdf documents. Many include units that use multiple PhET modules in physics.
Not a big concern, but the Stringwave module itself does not include assignments or progressive conceptual goals. However, there are many units on the website that would include these goals. Students get the most out of this when asked to create demonstrations of specific acoustic principles, like standing waves.
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
Very colorful and appealing, fun to use. No explicit instructions, but is obvious and labeled with help tips. The authors include source code to allow for translation.
May require longer download times with slower Internet connections.
Other Issues and Comments:
This review encompassed the complete website, which included a simulation titled "Wave on a String."
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