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Activity: Graphing Spectra
This activity introduces two different representations of spectra: the photographic representation, such as the rainbow, and the graphical representation used more often by astronomers. A rainbow is often given as an everyday example of a spectrum. Most students have seen a rainbow, so this example is used to help make the unfamiliar more familiar. However, the spectra that scientists use, which students will see in this lesson plan, appear very different than a rainbow. In this activity, students will explore for themselves two different representations of the same spectrum, noting advantages and disadvantages of each. They will explore the differences and similarities of both these representations, and will develop a more intuitive feel for a graphical representation, which may not yet be familiar to them.
Intended for grade levels:
  • High (9-12)
Type of resource:
  • For the classroom:
    • Classroom activity
Subject:
  • Physics
  • Space science
Technical requirements:
No specific technical requirements, just a browser required
Cost / Copyright:
No cost
If using the HEASARC service made a significant contribution to a research project, please make the following acknowledgement in any resulting publication: This research has made use of data obtained from the High Energy Astrophysics Science Archive Research Center (HEASARC), provided by NASAs Goddard Space Flight Center. Please send a preprint or reprint of the paper to: The HEASARC Code 660.2 NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Greenbelt, Maryland, 20771, USA
DLESE Catalog ID: DLESE-000-000-005-982
Educational standards:
  • National Science Education Standards (NSES):
    • 9-12:
      • Unifying concepts and processes:
        • Evidence, models, and explanation
      • B - Physical science:
        • Interactions of energy and matter
        • Structure of atoms
Resource contact / Creator / Publisher:
Publisher: High Energy Astrophysics Science Archive Research Center