Physics & Physical Science Demos, Labs, & Projects for High School Teachers

Waves using Snakey & Slinky

Posted on: June 6, 2008

Yes, Snakey. If you buy a wave demonstration kit, there are two springs in there. One is the classic Slinky, just very long. The other is a much tighter ten or twelve foot long spring called a Snakey. That one is the kids love to play with.

  • The best demonstration with Snakey is when you pull the spring tight between two people and pluck the spring. The wave travels down the spring, hits the other side and reflects back.
  • You can also try to set up a standing wave. Challenge the student at the other end of the spring to try not to move at his end, it’s extremely difficult. Once you get a standing wave, have another student see if they can reach in and touch the node. Even more challenging, once the standing wave has begun, see if you can change to a harmonic of the wave. When the standing wave is visible, ask them to determine the frequency and wavelength of what they see.

The Slinky is used to demonstrate a longitudinal wave. It’s a lot harder to see and even harder to keep going. Still, it gets the point across.


1 Response to "Waves using Snakey & Slinky"

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