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901-C: Parts of a Wave 1: Transverse Waves

• Topic Cluster: Waves
• Topic: Wave Structure
• Objective: Identify important parts of a traveling transverse wave, including crests, troughs, wavelength, and amplitude.
• Content: Crests, troughs, wavelength, and amplitude are important elements of a transverse wave.
• Level: 1

Breaking a wave down to its geometric parts is essential for explaining how waves function. In this pod, we will consider the parts of a traveling, transverse wave, the most common type of wave people know.

Crests and Troughs:

The top of a wave is called a crest and the bottom of a wave is called a trough.

Wavelength and Amplitude

The distance between any two crests is called the wavelength. A wavelength is also the distance between the

The distance from the middle of the wave to the top of the wave is called the amplitude. An amplitude is also the distance from the middle of the wave to the bottom of the wave.

The amplitude is NOT the height of a wave from top to bottom. The total height of the wave is two amplitudes.

Practice:

In each image of wave, an arrow points out some feature. Select the answer that best describes that feature. Each answer choice is used TWICE.

Match each word to its definition.

1. Wavelength
2. W: Top of a wave.
3. Amplitude
4. X: Distance from between the middle of a wave and the crest
5. Crest
6. Y: Bottom of a wave
7. Trough
8. Z: Distance between two crests of a wave

Fill in the blank

1. The bottom of a wave is called the _______________.
2. A taller wave has a greater _______________.
3. When I measure the distance between one crest and another crest, I am measuring the _______________.
4. The top of the wave is called the _______________.

Complete the following drawings

1. Draw a transverse wave. Label the crests and troughs.
2. Draw a transverse wave. Label two different ways to measure the wavelength.
3. Draw a transverse wave. Label two different ways to measure the amplitude.