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Physics: Waves 2/3


In this topic, pupils build on their fundamental knowledge of waves from Year 8. They will learn about how energy is transferred as electromagnetic radiation and the uses of these different waves, ranging from optics through to medicine. Pupils will learn how to calculate the speed of waves through different matter. Pupils should also review the keywords from previous Year 8 Waves topic.

The main SMSC/Personal Development content of this topic includes: PD2 – Developing and deepening pupils’ understanding of mutual respect and tolerance (team and or group work).
PD16 – Use of imagination and creativity in their learning.
PD17 – Willingness to reflect on their experiences.

The main UN Rights of a Child covered are No. 13 – Sharing thoughts freely and No 29 – Aims of Education

Example Key Words


How many times something happens per seconds is its frequency. A wave with a frequency of 10Hz completes 10 waves per second.


A wave that passes through or across a material is said to be transmitted.


A process by which a wave changes speed and sometimes direction as it enters a denser or less dense medium.


There are two types of reflection – specular and diffuse. Diffuse – when light is reflected off a surface and is scattered in different directions. Specular – reflection in which light travelling towards a surface in one direction is all reflected in a single direction.

Black Body

There are no known objects that are perfect at absorbing or emitting all the radiation, of every possible frequency, that may be directed at it. Some objects do, however, come close to this and these are referred to as “black bodies”.