Electromagnetic Waves vs. Mechanical Waves Science Games
In this series of games, your students will learn the similarities and differences between two types of waves. The Electromagnetic Waves vs. Mechanical Waves learning objective — based on NGSS and state standards — delivers improved student engagement and academic performance in your classroom, as demonstrated by research.
Scroll down for a preview of this learning objective’s games and the concepts they drive home.
Waves are disturbances that transfer energy from one place to another. Mechanical waves travel through matter, causing it to vibrate, expand and contract, move up and down, side to side, or in circles. They include water waves, sound waves, and seismic waves.
Light is the transfer of energy via electromagnetic waves. Unlike mechanical waves, which require matter, electromagnetic waves can travel through empty space, as well as through liquids, solids, and gases.
There are many similarities between light waves and mechanical waves. They can both be measured by their amplitude, wavelength, and frequency. When they interact with matter, they can be reflected, transmitted, absorbed, refracted, or diffracted.
Visible light, radio waves, microwaves, infrared radiation, ultraviolet, x-rays, and gamma rays make up the electromagnetic spectrum. They all travel at the same speed — the speed of light — in a vacuum, but when they come into contact with matter, they slow down.
Light keeps traveling through space until it encounters matter. Some of the light we see from faraway stars has been traveling through empty space for billions of years.
A preview of each game in the learning objective is found below.
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