Light and Measurement (Electromagnetism and light-year)STEP Participant home page
Participating as Students:
Define light, light-year, wavelength, frequency
Activities for Teaching about Light
- Active Astronomy
These classroom activities are for learning about infrared light but are also excellent for the topic of light and the electromagnetic spectrum in general.
- UV Man
Students construct UV Man! (or woman or dog!) and equip him with special radiation detectors to investigate the source of ultraviolet radiation in this 60 minute activity. They explore how we can protect UV Man! — and ourselves! — from being exposed to too much UV radiation.
- Sorting Spectra
Students compare stellar spectra for patterns and develop a standard for classifying them.
Activities Using Light to Measure Distances
- Measuring a Kid Minute
Students walk heel-to-toe for one minute, measure the distance they walked and then use that as an analogy for the distance that light travels in a specified time. STEP participant Brandy Laney developed the attached student directions and worksheet.
- Light years Away
Students develop models for a light year and compare numbers written in scientific notation and in standard notation.
- Measuring Parallax
In this kinesthetic activity, students model the motion of the Earth around the Sun and observe the parallax motion of objects relative to a background. There is an option for older grade levels to measure the distance of the objects by measuring the angle with their hands and performing a trigonometric function.