# ALEX Learning Activity

## Making Waves With Spiderwebs

A Learning Activity is a strategy a teacher chooses to actively engage students in learning a concept or skill using a digital tool/resource.

You may save this Learning Activity to your hard drive as an .html file by selecting “File”,then “Save As” from your browser’s pull down menu. The file name extension must be .html.
This learning activity provided by:
 Author: Ginger Boyd System: Geneva County School: Samson Middle School
General Activity Information
 Activity ID: 2021 Title: Making Waves With Spiderwebs Digital Tool/Resource: University of Oxford - Tuning the Instrument: spiderwebs as vibration transmission structures Web Address – URL: http://www.ox.ac.uk/news/2016-09-07-tuning-instrument-spider-webs-vibration-transmission-structures Overview: In this learning activity, students will gather evidence that spiderwebs transmit vibrations. Students will investigate how a spider reacts to vibrations in its web using a tuning fork. Finally, students will construct their own spider web out of yarn to show the relationship between the vibrations on the web and the spider's reaction to its prey. This activity results from the ALEX Resource Gap Project.
Associated Standards and Objectives
Content Standard(s):
 Science SC2015 (2015) Grade: 4 6 ) Develop a model of waves to describe patterns in terms of amplitude and wavelength, and including that waves can cause objects to move. Unpacked Content Scientific And Engineering Practices:Developing and Using ModelsCrosscutting Concepts: PatternsDisciplinary Core Idea: Waves and Their Applications in Technologies for Information TransferEvidence Of Student Attainment:Students: Develop a model of waves to describe patterns of amplitude. Develop a model of waves to describe patterns of wavelength. Develop a model of waves that describes patterns that cause objects to move.Teacher Vocabulary:Patterns Propagated Waves Wave amplitude Wavelength Net motion Model Relevant components PeaksKnowledge:Students know: Waves can be described in terms of patterns of repeating amplitude and wavelength (e.g., in a water wave there is a repeating pattern of water being higher and then lower than the baseline level of the water). Waves can cause an object to move. The motion of objects varies with the amplitude and wavelength of the wave carrying it. The patterns in the relationships between a wave passing, the net motion of the wave, and the motion of an object caused by the wave as it passes. How waves may be initiated (e.g., by disturbing surface water or shaking a rope or spring). The repeating pattern produced as a wave is propagated. Waves, which are the regular patterns of motion, can be made in water by disturbing the surface. When waves move across the surface of deep water, the water goes up and down in place; there is no net motion in the direction of the wave except when the water meets a beach. Waves of the same type can differ in amplitude (height of the wave) and wavelength (spacing between wave peaks). Skills:Students are able to: Develop a model to make sense of wave patterns that includes relevant components (i.e., waves, wave amplitude, wavelength, and motion of objects). Describe patterns of wavelengths and amplitudes. Describe how waves can cause objects to move.Understanding:Students understand that: There are similarities and differences in patterns underlying waves and use these patterns to describe simple relationships involving wave amplitude, wavelength, and the motion of an object. Alabama Alternate Achievement Standards AAS Standard: SCI.AAS.4.6- Using given models, identify patterns found in waves.
Learning Objectives:

Students will gather evidence that spiderwebs transmit vibrations.

Students will investigate how a spider reacts to vibrations.

Students will construct a model of a spider web to show the relationship between the vibrations on the web and the spider's reaction to its prey.

Strategies, Preparations and Variations
 Phase: During/Explore/Explain Activity: Introduce the activity by posing the following question to the class, "How does a spider realize when a fly gets caught in its web?" Allow students time to respond, then as a class visit the University of Oxford website and read (whole class) the following article: "Tuning the Instrument:  spider webs as vibration transmission structures".Lead a discussion with students about spiders' reactions to the vibrations in their spider webs. How does a spider realize when a fly gets caught in its web? The vibrations in its web let it know that something has been captured. Today, we will investigate how a spider reacts to these vibrations by holding a vibrating tuning fork up to the web. But will the frequency of the vibrations matter? Place students into groups of three students per group. Each group will be given a tuning fork, a small wooden block, and a stopwatch.Have the students go outside and find a spider web with a spider in it. Hold the handle of the tuning fork and tap a prong of the tuning fork against a wooden block to start it vibrating. Carefully hold one of the prongs of the tuning fork against one strand of the web, about six inches away from the spider. Time the spider to see how long it takes to reach the spot that the tuning fork was touching. Record the time. Wait several minutes before continuing, to allow the spider time to rest. Tap the prong of the tuning fork against the wooden block again, this time a bit stronger. Carefully hold one of the prongs of the fork against a strand of the web about six inches away from where the spider is currently. Record the time it takes the spider to reach that point. Repeat this process several times interchanging hard taps of the tuning fork with softer ones on the wooden block. Analyze the data. Does the frequency of the vibrations affect how quickly the spider responds?Challenge the groups to build a model of a spider web. Distribute the materials:  yarn and scissors. Students should start by finding a stable place to tie the yarn (maybe between two chairs). Tie the string of yarn across the two chairs and make sure the yarn is taut.  Weave some longer pieces of yarn around the original yarn attached to the chairs, tying as they weave.  Once complete, one student should hold onto the web and close their eyes and have another student pluck one of the yarn strings - once lightly and once firmly.  The students in the group should alternate positions and take turns plucking and holding the strings with their eyes closed. Assessment Strategies: Students should be assessed on successfully completing a model of a spider web.  Students should also complete an exit ticket with the following question:  Does the frequency of the vibrations on a spider's web affect how quickly the spider responds? Advanced Preparation: The teacher will need an internet connected computer, projector, and an interactive whiteboard. Variation Tips (optional): Notes or Recommendations (optional):
Keywords and Search Tags
 Keywords and Search Tags: