Teacher's Lesson Plan:
Physics: The Electromagnetic Spectrum
A physics lesson about the electromagnetic spectrum, with an included worksheet.
One or many studentsObjectives:
- To become aware generally of the range of the electromagnetic spectrum.
- To comprehend the breadth of the electromagnetic spectrum.
- To identify the main regions of the electromagnetic spectrum.
- To become aware of electromagnetic spectrum studies.
- To become familiar with the energy nature of the electromagnetic spectrum.
- To appreciate historically the degree of difficulty in utilizing the electromagnetic spectrum.
Reading about the electromagnetic spectrum.Materials:
Referring to charts and diagrams of the electromagnetic spectrum.
Class or group discussion about:
- The range of the electromagnetic spectrum.
- The breadth of the electromagnetic spectrum.
- The main regions of the electromagnetic spectrum.
- The energy nature of the electromagnetic spectrum.
- The difficulties scientists and engineers have encountered in utilizing the electromagnetic spectrum.
After discussion and reading, individuals should complete a worksheet
For each student:Procedure:
- Access to the Internet via ISP and web browser
- Access to a science book or an elementary physics text (optional or see online resources below)
- Worksheet (print the worksheet at the bottom of this page)
- Pencils, pens or markers
- Information, charts and diagrams of the electromagnetic spectrum (see online diagrams below).
Have each student:
Visit Space Today Online
Read "Electromagnetic Spectrum and the Chandra X-Ray Observatory"
Read "Understanding Space Technology: Spectrometers"
Refer to online information, charts and diagrams:
In class or group discussion:
Electromagnetic spectrum charts and diagrams:
NASA Marshall Space Flight Center
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
Dept. of Defense Joint Spectrum Center
Johns Hopkins University
University of Illinois NCSA Cyberia
Lakehead University Canada
Canada Centre for Remote Sensing
Electromagnetic spectrum descriptions:
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center [Imagine] Measuring the electromagnetic spectrum
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center [Legacy] The electromagnetic spectrum
Gondar Design Regions of the electromagnetic spectrum
Canada Centre for Remote Sensing Regions of the electromagnetic spectrum
University College London Bands of the electromagnetic spectrum
University of Illinois NCSA Cyberia All about spectra
Science Hypermedia Spectroscopy
Electromagnetic spectrum definitions:
Federal Standard Glossary of Telecommunications Terms
National Telecommunications and Information Administration Electromagnetic Spectrum
Electromagnetic radiation explained:
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory Electromagnetic radiation
Science Hypermedia Electromagnetic Radiation
Students for the Exploration and Development of Space Electromagnetic spectrum calculator
Martindale's Physics Calculators
- Ask who discovered the electromagnetic spectrum.
- Ask what the electromagnetic spectrum is.
- Ask students to describe the electromagnetic spectrum.
- Ask when bands of the electromagnetic spectrum have been put to use.
- Ask why we care about the electromagnetic spectrum.
- Ask how we used the spectrum in the first half of the 20th century.
- Ask how we will use the spectrum in the first half of the 21st century.
- Ask about the difficulty in using various regions of the spectrum.
Have a student or students show:
- Where the electromagnetic spectrum is.
- How we know there is an electromagnetic spectrum.
- Who the important developers of the spectrum have been.
- Define Long Wave, Medium Wave, Shortwave, VHF, UHF, Microwave, Infrared Light, Visible Light, Ultraviolet Light, X-Rays and Gamma Rays.
- How human engineers have overcome the barriers to use of the electromagnetic spectrum.
- Differentiate among radio waves, microwaves, infrared, visible spectrum, ultraviolet, gamma rays and x-rays.
- Where in the spectrum one would find wind profilers, nuclear detection, air traffic control, public safety (police, fire, ambulance), radar, GPS navigation, microwave cooking ovens, and other special uses of the electromagnetic spectrum.
- Why it is so difficult to make use of the electromagnetic spectrum.
- How today's use of the electromagnetic spectrum differs from 75 years ago.
Have students identify on their worksheets which electromagnetic spectrum regions across the top of the worksheet are used by the services listed on the left side of the worksheet.
Worksheet Service Long
VHF UHF Microwave Infrared Visible
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