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Wave Refraction micro-lesson

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Learning time​

Kids learn by watching short, engaging video lessons.

This lesson is about wave refraction. Wave refraction is the bending of waves as it passes from one medium to another. In surfing, the ocean floor or beach causes the waves to bend or refract in a way that makes them really fun to surf. In this next example, you can actually see how the waves bend. See how out here in the open ocean, they're straight lines? As they come in, the shape of the ocean floor causes them to bend. Here's an example of a U-shaped reef which concentrates the wave towards the center point where the wave breaks. So how does this happen? The waves come in straight and as the sea floor changes depth, it actually forces it to refract. See how this wave is deeper on both sides? This actually makes the waves concentrate in one central point, at the peak, and this is where we like to surf. This is because it peels in one direction or the other and makes it a nice surfable wave. Do all waves refract like this? No. The reef or ocean floor bends and moves the lines depending on the shape of the bottom. Lines like this one are fun to surf also.

Examples of 1Question Maths Questions

Answer time

Kids earn more screen time by answering fun educational questions.

Here are some example of questions about this video that kids may be asked in the 1Question app to earn screen time.

  • In the open ocean waves come in what type of lines?

    1) Straight
    2) Circular
    3) Zigzag
    4) Wavy
  • Changes in depth of the ocean floor cause waves to... ?

    1) Bend or refract
    2) Increase speed
    3) Decrease speed
    4) Disappear
  • What causes waves to bend or refract?

    1) The ocean floor
    2) The shape of the wave
    3) The wind speed
    4) The wave's height
  • What is the bending of waves as it passes from one medium to another called?

    1) Refraction
    2) Transformation
    3) Reflection
    4) Interference
  • The ocean floor is deeper on both sides of a u-shaped reef.

    1) Yes
    2) No
  • Can you surf both the right and left side of a u-shaped reef break?

    1) Yes
    2) No

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Meet your educator

Our micro-courses are developed and delivered by qualified educators from around the world.

Sarah Sanchez Medrano

Sarah Sanchez Medrano

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