Sound Waves WebQuest


Part 1.  Introduction

Sound is the energy things produce when they vibrate (move back and forth quickly). If you bang a drum, you make the tight skin vibrate at very high speed (it's so fast that you can't usually see it), forcing the air all around it to vibrate as well. As the air moves, it carries energy out from the drum in all directions. Eventually, even the air inside your ears starts vibrating—and that's when you begin to perceive the vibrating drum as a sound. In short, there are two different aspects to sound: there's a physical process that produces sound energy to start with and sends it shooting through the air, and there's a separate psychological process that happens inside our ears and brains, which convert the incoming sound energy into sensations we interpret as noises, speech, and music.  (Information in this paragraph retrieved from

Watch the Introduction to Sound Waves Video by clicking on the link below and summarize what you learn in 5-7 sentences. 

 Introduction to Sound Waves



Part 2.  Task

A.  Subtopic:  History and Aerodynamics

Use the following sites to answer each question.


          1) What is Charles E. Yeager known for?

          2) What is the sound barrier?

          3) Explain the phrase "aerodynamics of a plane".


B.  Subtopic:  Terminology     

      Create a graphic organizer with each of the following terms or phrases: 

                speed of sound, wavelength, frequency, wave interference, resonance

     Feel free to search the web for needed information.  Listed below are a couple of sites to assist if needed.  


C. Subtopic:  Sound Wave Simulation

       Use the link below to complete the sound wave simulation.




Part 3.  Process

      Using information you have obtained from the videos, articles, and simulations in this webquest create an original visual presentation of sound waves.  Make sure your visual is clear and could be easily understood by students in another grade level with less experience.  Be prepared to present to class.  Be prepared to answer questions from classmates.  See evaluation tab for full rubric.  


Part 4.  Evaluation / Rubric


Oral Presentation Rubric : Sound Waves







Teacher Name:  Mrs. Cyfers


Student Name:     ________________________________________







Sound Waves

Explanation factual

Missing or one item of misinformed information about sound waves.

Missing or two items of misinformed information about sound waves.

Missing or three or more items of misinformed information about sound waves.


Student is completely prepared and has obviously rehearsed.

Student seems pretty prepared but might have needed a couple more rehearsals.

The student is somewhat prepared, but it is clear that rehearsal was lacking.

Student does not seem at all prepared to present.


Shows a full understanding of the topic.

Shows a good understanding of the topic.

Shows a good understanding of parts of the topic.

Does not seem to understand the topic very well.


Uses vocabulary appropriate for the audience. Extends audience vocabulary by defining words that might be new to most of the audience.

Uses vocabulary appropriate for the audience. Includes 1-2 words that might be new to most of the audience, but does not define them.

Uses vocabulary appropriate for the audience. Does not include any vocabulary that might be new to the audience.

Uses several (5 or more) words or phrases that are not understood by the audience.


Student uses several props (could include costume) that show considerable work/creativity and which make the presentation better.

Student uses 1 prop that shows considerable work/creativity and which make the presentation better.

Student uses 1 prop which makes the presentation better.

The student uses no props OR the props chosen detract from the presentation.



Part 5.  Conclusion

I hope you have gained a better insight about sound waves by completing this activity.  I also hope you enjoyed finding out information about our very own West Virginia native, Charles E. Yeager and his importance on this topic.  

Sounds waves can be either pulse waves or periodic waves. A pulse wave is characterized as one assault to the medium while periodic waves are characterized as a series of successive assaults on the medium.  Sound waves can be described by period, wavelength, amplitude, and for periodic waves we can include frequency.

Frequency is the number of waves in a given time. The period is the time it takes for one wave to fully assault the medium. Wavelength is measured from crest to crest or trough to trough. Amplitude characterizes the wave’s energy or intensity.  (Information in this conclusion was retrieved from


Part 6.  Credits / Resources

All of the following were used to obtian factual information, videos, and simulations for this project.  

Aerospace Pioneers 

            This site lists many people who made contributions or played a significant role in aerospace engineering or aeronautics.

American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics

            This site explains many facets of the aerodynamics of planes and flight angles.

Explain that stuff - how soundwaves work

            This site gives a good break down of how sound waves works.  There are many visuals and examples on this site.

Exploring Acoustics

            This site allows you to experience the differences in sound.

Introduction to Sound Waves (Khan Accademy)

            This serves as a good introductory video to the basic principles of sound waves.

Physics Classroom

                This allows for more interactive lessons to work through the basics of sound waves. 


            This site allows creation of rubrics, which could also become checklists for you.

Sound Simulation

            This simulation provides you the opportunity to experience what you have learned.

Sound Waves

            This site provides a good summary and characteristics of sound waves. 

Study Hints

            This allows access to video, flashcards, and all things sound wave related to assist with studying materials. 


Teacher Page

This WebQuest was developed by:

Melissa A. Cyfers

Last Updated:  July 25, 2019