Doppler Effect Activities & Games

Instructor: Tawnya Eash

Tawnya has a master's degree in early childhood education and teaches all subjects at an elementary school.

If you need some fun activities and games to help keep your students engaged while learning about the Doppler Effect, look no further! This lesson has ideas to strengthen your students' knowledge and get them excited about the Doppler Effect.

Doppler Effect

Students learn how sound, light, or other waves change frequency as the source moves closer or farther away from something. This is the Doppler Effect. In this lesson, you will have a variety of activities and games to help enhance your students' understanding of the Doppler Effect.

Please feel free to adjust these ideas to meet the needs of your students, match the content you are teaching, and for your own unique touch to a lesson.


Show Me the Doppler Effect

With this activity, students will work on a project that describes and shows how the Doppler Effect works.

Materials for each group

  • Trifold posters or poster board
  • Markers, crayons, colored pencils
  • Access to technology (printing pictures, typing, or researching)
  • Resource materials on the Doppler Effect
  • A variety of other materials that will be determined from the group itself
    • Each group may have to gather other materials (from school or home) for their display


  • Students will work in groups of 3–4.
  • Explain that each group will create a display to help teach their classmates about the Doppler Effect.
  • Each display must include the following:
    • Explanation of the Doppler Effect.
    • Visual representation of the Doppler Effect.
    • A hands-on activity to demonstrate the Doppler Effect. Example: A variety of instruments that create sound waves could be on or near the poster board (cymbals, flute, maracas, etc.). Students could see what these instruments sound like from near and far away. Then they could describe how the frequency of the sound waves changes.
  • Allow students time to form groups and collaborate ideas. Then, students can begin working on their project.
  • Groups may create their displays by hand, with technology, or a combination of both.
  • When groups are finished, place each display around the classroom. Provide time for students to travel from display to display and learn more about the Doppler Effect.

The Doppler Effect and You

Students get to write about how the Doppler Effect relates to them.


  • Resources on the Doppler Effect
  • Notebooks
  • Pencils
  • Use of technology if possible
    • Computers with programs such as Microsoft Word
  • Writing paper, if computers are not available


  • Students will work independently.
  • Invite students to talk among partners or small groups about their own experiences with the Doppler Effect. Examples: Sounds from an approaching fire engine, light coming from a city off in the distance, or fish splashing in a pond causing ripples in the water.
  • Explain that students will write about their own experience with the Doppler Effect and describe how the Doppler Effect works.
  • Students must include the following in their writing:
    • At least one experience with the Doppler Effect.
    • Description of how the Doppler Effect works for sound, light, and movement.
    • Real life example of the Doppler Effect for sound, light, and movement. Could be student's own experience and/or general examples.
    • A cover page with illustration/picture.
  • Allow students time to pre-write and complete a rough draft. Students will edit and revise their rough draft with the help of a partner.
  • Students can write/type their final copy when ready.
  • Volunteers may share their writing with the class. Display all final copies on a bulletin board or in the hallway.


Catch That Wave

Students will test their knowledge of the Doppler Effect and sound as they play tag with a twist.


  • Large play area (gymnasium or outdoor field)
  • Up to 5 bells on a string
  • At least 20 question cards about the Doppler Effect
    • Possible questions/tasks: Describe what Doppler Effect is shown when a duck swims in a pond. What is the Doppler Effect? Give an example of the Doppler Effect and sound waves.

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