Island Explorers Curriculum Home


Unit 1

Lesson Plan 1

Lesson Plan 2

Lesson Plan 3

Lesson Plan 4

Lesson Plan 5

Concepts/Objectives | Vocabulary/Background | Activity | Extension


Lesson Plan 3





  1. Have you seen waves at the beach or in a lake?
  2. What do you think causes waves? Wind, earthquakes


  1. Line up your students, side by side, in an open space where they are free to move. Ask them if they have seen people at a sporting event move in sequence to make a "wave." (The first person starts in a crouching position, then stands, reaches high, and crouches down again. Each subsequent person before them in line has partially completed the motions. The result is a rippling wave that runs down the line.) Invite the class to try it. Tell them that they have just become a model of ocean waves.
  2. Have the class try different variations, such as fast, slow, high, and low. You might set up scenarios, such as having them imagine a storm is raging at sea, which would suggest that they make fast, high waves.
  3. Have them create a wave, and then freeze the motion while you point out different parts of the wave, as described in the Background information (crest, trough, wavelength, wave height). You might have the class line up along the chalkboard, trace the shape of the wave and label it. Have a volunteer make some rough measurements as your wave model tries out different wavelengths and wave heights.
  4. Ask: Have you ever noticed that as you make your wave movements, you don't move along sideways? How is that similar to the way an ocean works? Help students see that the water in any given wave moves up and down, but it doesn't move forward. The wave's energy, not the water, is transferred along.
  5. Finish the modeling activity by exploring why waves break on the shore and splash up on the beach. You might have students at one end of the line try it by standing on a slightly raised ground (best done outside), crowding the line closer together, reaching the wave crests higher and tipping over (carefully!)
  6. Have students make a labeled sketch of a wave. Close by showing the class dramatic pictures or a video of waves in motion, or by demonstrating wave motion in a large shallow pan of water. Float a few small objects remain in position rather than move in the direction of the waves.



Concepts/Objectives | Vocabulary/Background | Activity | Extension