Grade Level

High School




Sanjay Yengul, Kate Wooley-Brown

Lesson Summary


In this activity, students learn how mechanical waves are helping to made advances in medicine. Students will apply their knowledge of mechanics to understanding a new technique and even to make disease diagnoses.

Upon completion of this lesson, students will be able to:

  • explain the relationship between a mechanical wave’s speed and the medium through which it is traveling.
  • calculate a wave’s speed given frequency and wavelength.
  • describe medical applications of mechanical waves.


Science and Engineering Practices:

SP2, SP5, SP8

MA Science and Technology/Engineering (2016):

HS-PS4-1, HS-PS4-5

NGSS (2013):

HS-PS4-1, HS-PS4-5

Common Core Math/Language Arts Standards:



elasticity, elastography, fibrosis, palpation, shear wave

Educator SoundBites

"I used this lesson in my Earth and Space Science course to prepare my students for a more complex discussion of seismic waves and our discovery of the structure of the Earth. This provided a great scaffold for our material, and the kids absolutely loved learning about medicine in a physical science course! The questions in the student handout were an appropriate level for my class, and are up to our high AVID standard for classroom questioning."
Rachel Smith, Lubbock Coronado High School in Lubbock, TX

Lesson Documents


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Download PDF View Google Doc


Download PDF View Google Doc

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