I recently taught about the superposition of waves. I wanted to have a concise definition, but each time that I looked something up, I came up with things like this:
2. Principle of superposition - the displacement of any point due to the superposition of wave systems is equal to the sum of the displacements of the individual waves at that point; "the principle of superposition is the basis of the wave theory of light"
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.
The Physics Classroom has a better description because they have many good visual examples such as the following:
But really, what's happening here? To sum up in as few words as possible: Waves are overlapping.
Superposition of waves just means overlapping waves.
We decided to make an extra credit assignment that also served as practice for English Language Learners when it comes to compound words. Another example I used was "Butterfly". We decided to look at the visual analog of overlapping waves and we superposed different images onto each other. I demonstrated how they could use the Microsoft Paint program to overlap two images. Students even found new apps to use such as Apple iPad's "Cut Me In". Here is the example I used in class of a "dandy ...lion":
You can check out the student examples in our Student section.
Kelly Garcia teaches physics in New York City to Latino students using a humourous and hands-on approach. She manages to circumvent the boredom of test-prep with thoughtful and creative projects.