Grade: Elementary
Subject: Science

Teachers.Net Lesson Plans

#178. Wonderful Waves

Science, level: Elementary
Posted by Jessica Harden (
University of Memphis, Memphis, TN
Materials Required: flat pans 4-5 in deep, fans (electric or paper), water, sugar cubes, spray bottles
Concepts Taught: Ocean waves and erosion

Grade: 2-4
1. The student will learn that waves are generated by wind.
2. Students will create a model that uses wind to create waves.
3. Students will conduct an experiment that will demonstrate the effect that waves have on the coastline (erosion).
1. Ask the class what they think causes waves. Discuss their ideas.
2. Give each group one of the pans and instruct them to fill them with 2 to 3 inches of water.
3. About 1 foot from each pan (on the narrow side), place an electric fan or have a student hold a paper fan at a closer distance.
4. Ask the students to predict what will happen when the fan blows across the water's surface. After the students have recorded their predictions, let each group blow their fan at a low speed and then report their results.
5. Have the students repeat step 4 using a higher fan speed and record their results.
6. Ask the students what effect they think these waves might wave on the coastline. Have them record their predictions.
7. Have the students empty the water out of their pans and then reuse their pans in which to build a coastline out of sugar cubes. (This should be built in sort of a step like formation.)
8. Have the students draw a picture of what their coastline looks like before the experiment. Then spray the coastline with the water bottle until you see some sort of change occurring (when the sugar starts to melt).
9. Have the students draw a picture of their coastline after spraying the water. Were their predictions correct?
Discuss the term erosion with the students. Explain that the previous experiment was an example of one form of erosion. (Waves caused erosion of the coastline and the wind is the cause of these waves.)