Make waves in science

Resources team
26th November 2019
waves lessons science physics

Engage learners studying waves in science with these super physics resources

As an essential topic taught to physics learners at both lower and upper secondary, we have put together a selection of hand-picked wave resources to make your planning simpler. Take a look at the selection below including full lessons, worksheets, revision materials and exam practice questions.


Introduce different types of waves to students and work out wave frequencies with these selected worksheets and lessons designed to prepare students in lower school for GCSE.

Waves unit

A mixture of resources I use for this unit. Some I have made and some have been reworked. All credits are given within the actual documents. I cannot take any credit for this work and other resources that are reworked originals. All these are also credited within the documents themself. Special thanks to mrsimonporter for his fab ppts!
By Masfar

KS3 Physics - SOUND and HEARING Huge Resource Pack, waves, frequency, amplitude, ultrasound, the ear

*UPDATED January 2017 - More support worksheets added*

This resource includes a 56 slide PowerPoint presentation, four activity worksheets, a mind map, a short quiz and a 34-question unit test. Everything is ready to be used or easily edited to suit your learners.

• Includes sound clips to bring the learning to life

• Animations have been thoughtfully used to promote participation from lower achieving students and discussion from higher ability ones.

• 26 learning outcomes listed below

By the end of these lessons, pupils will:

1. recognise that sound is made by objects that vibrate

2. define that the frequency of vibration of the source is measured in Hertz (Hz)

3. discuss how sound is made in different musical instruments

4. know that a vibrating source causes the layers of air around it to move

5. discover that sound travels by compressing and expanding the surroundings

6. express that sound travels as a longitudinal wave

7. discover that sound travels best through solids and worst through gases because of the arrangement of the particles

8. explore the relative speed of sound in different mediums

9. explain that sound waves cannot travel through a vacuum because there are no molecules

10. know that sound waves detected by the ear cause the ear drum to vibrate

11. explore the structure of the ear

12. describe how sound is transmitted through the ear to the brain

13. know that different people have different ranges of hearing

14. know that the average human range of hearing is 20 to 20,000 Hz

15. define that loudness is measured in decibels (dB's)

16. discuss that 0 dB is the threshold of hearing and 130 dB's is the threshold of pain whilst 140 dB's causes damage

17. discuss that loud sounds can have permanent and temporary effect on the ear

18. discuss some common causes of ear damage

19. define that noise is unwanted sound

20. discover that a loud sound is produced by a large vibration and vice versa

21. discover that a high pitched sound is produced by a very frequent (quick) vibration and vice versa

22. know that an microphone can change sound to electricity and that this can then be displayed on an oscilloscope

23. know that the wave displayed on an oscilloscope is a transverse wave

24. demonstrate how to identify the amplitude, the wavelength and the frequency of a wave

25. recognise the link between the loudness of the sound and the amplitude of the wave

26. recognise the link between the pitch of the sound and the frequency/wavelength of the wave

By sciencecorner

Measuring wave speed-frequency-wavelength

This is a worksheet that asks students to calculate wave speed, then rearrange the equation and calculate frequency and wavelength. Suitable for starter or plenary. Can be used for AQA - P1 - Waves - Measuring waves.
By Alex Johnston

KS3 Intro to Waves

The wonders of waves
By Lorna McGinley

Drawing Sound Waves: KS3/Low Ability

This is a lesson that teaches students the key parts of sound waves (peak, trough, amplitude, and wavelength). It teaches them how changing the properties of a sound (pitch/volume) changes the shape of the wave. There is also a step by step instruction showing students how they can accurately draw their own waves.

This is a perfect task for low ability or younger groups and a great task as part of a sound topic. I've have used it personally with several classes and they always enjoy producing accurate pieces of work that they are proud of (I have included a sample from one of my SEN students).
By ineedtoteachthat

Calculating Waves

Full lesson on the wave equation. There is an exam question and a differentiated question grid with a variety of challenge questions on.

By Claire_Wilkinson_1989


Prepare your pupils for their physics exam using this collection of revision and lesson materials for the new GCSE specification.


Included are lesson plans, slides, video links, activities and worksheets for AQA-P1-5-Waves. Includes lessons on, the nature of waves, measuring waves, reflection, refraction, diffraction and sound.
By Alex Johnston

IGCSE Waves Revision Booklet

Revision booklet for the Edexcel IGCSE Waves unit. Prints double sided and folds to make it A5.
By Chris Snewin

Waves knowledge organiser

Waves knowledge organiser to match AQA trilogy course. Given to my GCSE classes, higher and foundation,at the start of the topic to read and to use throughout during lessons and revision. Encourages independence and helps students to memorise key information as the exam now contains more content than ever.
By sliddane

Waves Revision Placemat

Waves Revision Placemat
An A3 revision mat for the Waves chapter in AQA GCSE 1-9 Physics.
Includes answers

By sambrowntes

AQA Physics - Wave Revision Lesson

A revision lesson for GCSE Physics on the topic of waves.
Learning Outcomes:

  • Describe the different types of wave
  • Calculate the properties of waves
  • Explain how to use a ripple tank to investigate the properties of waves

The lesson includes:

  • learning outcomes and keywords
  • a quick starter/settler focusing on some maths skills used physics (this can be edited to be a review of prior learning should you wish)
  • a recap of the difference between the types of waves followed by exam questions with ms for pupils to self or peer assess
  • The formula for wave speed, frequency and wave length with some examples for you to model to the class and then three questions taking from past papers for pupils to practice with. Answers provided.
  • Revision of the ripple tank investigation (for best results demonstrate the actual use of a ripple tank) followed by a 6 mark question with mark scheme relating to the investigation
By jkrtaylor

GCSE Physics P1 - Wave Properties/Natures of Waves/Measuring Waves

Complete lesson on 'Wave Properties/Natures of Waves/Measuring Waves' with key content from AQA Physics.
This lesson covers types of waves, parts of waves/characteristics, wave speed equation, terms and starts discussing EM waves.
Starter uses a cryptogram for pupils to solve and produce the key words for the topic
Guidance provided on Slinky demo and questioning to prompt pupils to produce key statements which are later detailed (as common exam questions).
Wave speed question explained and modelled with practice questions.
Task sheet with stretch and challenge questions which can be edited out.
Lesson includes some simple exam style questions which can be used as mini plenaries to link to exams.

More lessons to in same format for P1.
By Nteach


Getting ready to teach waves in the new year? Why not save yourself hours of planning time and download one of these prepared lesson bundles.

KS3 Light, Sound and Waves Whole Topic

A series of power points covering the entire KS3 topic of waves
Total Internal Reflection
Pin Hole Camera
By pbrooks89

GCSE 9-1 AQA Physics 4.6 - Wave Properties (whole unit resourced)

5 lessons covering the unit of Wave Properties for AQA GCSE Physics.

Lesson include:

Properties of Waves
Reflection and Refraction of Waves
Seismic Waves

Please read individual resources descriptions for each item in the bundle for further detail.

By Nteach

GCSE Waves Bundle 2018

A substantial bundle of differentiated resources to help with your planning of the new GCSE course. With over a dozen resources ranging from the electromagnetic spectrum and light to seismic waves. The activity types include comic style activities, literacy, jeopardy activities etc. Save more than 80% by buying as a bundle.
By heelis

Wave Properties (7 lessons)

Bundle of lessons for NEW AQA KS3 specification including fully differentiated lessons on:
Sound Waves
Light Waves
Reflection and Refraction
Transverse and Longitudinal Waves
Infrared and UV Radiation
Application of Waves
By sr276

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