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During this trying time, UC San Diego Extension remains committed to helping you achieve your goals. In an effort to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, we have moved this summer’s Sally Ride Science Junior Academy workshops online. These online STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) workshops for students entering 4th-12th grade will be conducted through virtual class meetings using the Zoom conferencing system and the learning platform Canvas.

Investigate the Science of Waves


Knowing how waves work is a key to understanding many aspects of the natural world. Dive into the fascinating world of water waves and light waves through hands-on experiments and fun craft projects.

Students will explore the science of ocean waves, currents and tsunamis. We will investigate how sand is formed by waves and use microscopes to examine sand from beaches around the world. Students will learn how light waves travel and which color of light travels farthest. Class members will put their new knowledge to work in a variety of art projects, including creating wave paintings with watercolors and salt, and building a miniature surfboard from balsa wood. The class will give students a basis of knowledge for further studies in physics and oceanography.

What You Will Learn

  • Get an overview of factors affecting the ocean circulation system, including winds, tides, Earth’s rotation, temperature and water density
  • Conduct experiments with water, wind, temperature and salinity
  • Gain an understanding of the differences between waves and currents
  • Learn what causes tides
  • Create models to illustrate tidal phenomena
  • Explore how changing tides affect animals and their habitats
  • Investigate how sand is formed by the action of waves
  • Use prisms and mirrors to investigate how waves of colored light travel

Return to the Sally Ride Science Junior Academy website here.

Course Number: WKSP-90029
Credit: 0.00 unit(s)