Invisible Universe: The Electromagnetic Spectrum from Radio Waves to Gamma Rays

Grades 6–8

Written by Stephen Pompea and Alan Gould with Lincoln Bergman

In this GEMS guide intriguing activities deepen student understanding of the electromagnetic spectrum, enabling students to detect and consider wavelengths other than visible light. Activities feature energy stations, including infrared (TV remote); microwave (pager); ultraviolet (black light) and other devices. Students come up with their own tests to see what blocks each wavelength, and what does not. They learn how these other wavelengths can be used to "see" things we cannot see with our eyes–allowing space scientists to detect and image objects, phenomena, and sources of energy far off in space. Colorful examples of these images are included in the guide.

One of the greatest mysteries of all is what causes gamma ray bursts. These bursts are the most powerful explosions in the Universe and occur about once a day! Their origin is unknown, although there are several theories. Students learn about NASA's 2003 Swift mission, with a specially-equipped satellite to further explore the causes of gamma ray bursts.

The guide is for middle school, suitable with adaptations to 9th and above. The Physical and Earth Science content of this guide is well correlated to the National Science Education Standards.

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Tour of the Invisible Universe


ISBN: Grade Level Format Price
0-924886-69-2 6–8 5 activities
125 pages

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