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Educator Resource: Curriculum Module

Sound and Light

How can you determine the distance to a thunderstorm by timing the interval between the flash and the bang? Explore how properties of sound and light waves make this practical phenomenon possible.
Middle School
Time required
Minimum of fifteen 45-minute sessions

A famous inventor Nikola Tesla said, If you want to find the secrets of the universe, think in terms of energy, frequency and vibration. In this unit, students investigate the characteristics and properties of waves - sound, light and seismic - in order to figure out how they are produced, how they transfer energy as they move through matter and how they act when they reach a boundary between types of matter. They measure and compare the speed of sound and light waves in order to understand the thunderstorm phenomenon, and explore applications of waves at Sanford Lab.