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Age Range: 11-14
Duration: 60 or more mins
  • Physics

Electromagnetic spectrum

Compare different types of electromagnetic waves

The electromagnetic spectrum is a fundamental part of our universe, influencing everything from the warmth of sunlight to the functionality of our electronics.

This activity delves into different types of electromagnetic waves and their everyday applications. It ties into key concepts like the electromagnetic spectrum, infra-red, wave, and frequency.

By investigating the technology used in the Nintendo Wii and designing an interactive 'tag' game, students will enjoy a hands-on, practical approach to learning.

As part of the ‘Time for a game’ scheme of work, this activity provides an electronics systems context for students to explore infrared technologies. Other activities include Inputs and outputs of design and Binary numbers.

This is one of a set of resources developed to support the teaching of the secondary national curriculum, particularly KS3. It has been designed to support the delivery of key topics within mathematics and design and technology (DT).

Activity: Compare different types of electromagnetic waves

This is an engaging activity in which students investigate the technology used in the Nintendo Wii, exploring infrared communication. They can then apply this knowledge and understanding into the design of an interactive ‘tag’ game.

Download our activity overview and PowerPoint presentation for a detailed lesson plan for teaching students how to compare different types of electromagnetic waves.

The engineering context

Learning about the electromagnetic spectrum introduces them to principles critical to electrical and telecommunications engineering, such as understanding wave behaviour and frequencies.

Suggested learning outcomes

By the end of this activity, students will gain a solid understanding of how light and infrared travel as waves. They will comprehend the electromagnetic spectrum and its applications, as well as understand the link between frequency and wavelength. Furthermore, this activity nurtures critical thinking and independent investigation skills, providing a broader understanding of communication methods and technologies.

Download our activity sheet and other teaching resources

The activity sheet includes teachers’ notes, useful web links, and links (where appropriate) to the national curriculum in each of the four devolved nations; England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

All activity sheets and supporting resources are free to download, and all the documents are fully editable, so you can tailor them to your students’ and your schools’ needs.

You can download our step-by-step instructions below as both a classroom lesson plan and a PowerPoint presentation.

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