Nature of Light: Light as Waves

Science Objects are two hour on-line interactive inquiry-based content modules that help teachers better understand the science content they teach. This Science Object is the second of four Science Objects in the Nature of Light SciPack. It provides conceptual and real world understanding of the idea that waves (including sound and seismic waves, waves on water, and light waves) have energy and can transfer energy when they interact with matter. Wave behavior can be described in terms of how fast the disturbance propagates, and of the distance between successive crests or troughs of the wave (the wavelength). Accelerating electric charges produce electromagnetic waves which can be organized into a spectrum of varying wavelengths (and frequencies): radio waves, microwaves, radiant heat or infrared radiation, visible light, ultraviolet radiation, x-rays, and gamma rays. These wavelengths vary from radio waves (the longest) to gamma rays (the shortest). Human eyes only respond to a narrow range of wavelengths of electromagnetic radiation—what we call visible light. In empty space, electromagnetic waves of all wavelengths move at the same speed—the "speed of light."

Level

Elementary SchoolMiddle School

Details

Type Science Object

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