Nature of Light: So, What is Light?

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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 final of four Science Objects in the Nature of Light SciPack. It provides an understanding of how sometimes the nature and behavior of electromagnetic radiation such as light can be best described using a wave model, but at other times it can be best described by using a particle model. Particles of light called photons contain discrete amounts of energy. The energy that a photon carries is directly proportional to its frequency. The energy of a photon is inversely proportional to the wavelength of the electromagnetic radiation. Each kind of atom or molecule can only gain or lose energy only in discrete amounts so they can absorb and emit light only at frequencies and wavelengths corresponding to these amounts. These combinations of wavelengths or spectra can be used to identify the substance.

  • Elementary
  • Middle

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Reviews (8)
  • on Fri Dec 09, 2016 12:00 AM

What is light? After completing this science object you will certainly know the answer to that question. This object gives you a in depth look at exactly what a light is. If you need a refresher on this topic before teaching it, this science object will absolutely get you reacquainted.

Anisa  (Dayton, OH)
Anisa (Dayton, OH)

  • on Sun Feb 22, 2015 9:25 AM

My students will love learning about how the spectrum of light is unique to every paint chip, clothing fiber, etc. collected in a crime scene. This will certainly engage them. Now to create an activity that will help them explore.......

Robin Willig  (Rye Brook, NY)
Robin Willig (Rye Brook, NY)

  • on Tue Sep 02, 2014 7:35 AM

I really enjoy Science Objects. In 1-3 hours, the Nature of Light: So, What is Light? Science Object will help me re-learn, refresh, or learn for the first time some critical science concepts I will have to know to obtain my Science Educator credentials. I appreciate that I can complete them at my own pace, and that, if used as park of a SciPack, I have access to a content expert to go to for help. The NSTA Learning Center Science Objects are very beneficial!

Naomi Beverly  (Marietta, GA)
Naomi Beverly (Marietta, GA)

  • on Tue Jan 31, 2012 3:33 PM

This is the culminating Object in the Nature of Light SciPack. I love it and was glad to see it tie some of the previous SciObjects together to give the reader a full and complete understanding of the concept. Great review for educators as they explore this topic with their scholars.

Lorrie Armfield  (Laurel, MD)
Lorrie Armfield (Laurel, MD)

  • on Fri Dec 30, 2011 1:07 AM

I love the questioning in this object. It really made you apply the material being presented. It was very useful in that you have a great example of sample questioning for students from an inquiry standpoint on answering the question: "So, what is light?"

Brandy Stewart
Brandy Stewart

  • on Tue Sep 20, 2016 12:44 AM

I love how detailed this is! It is a great resource for teachers, and helps engage each student by making it applicable to their world. It's cool to see the spectrum of light explained to easily, and in a way that applies to the student.

Allison Thompson
Allison Thompson

  • on Wed Oct 14, 2015 12:09 AM

I think that this is a great resource for young student. I feel that the students would love to learn about how the spectrum of light is unique .This resource will certainly engage the students. I will love to use this resource with my students.


  • on Sun Jun 19, 2011 9:12 PM

This is the final lesson in a series of four that deal with the Nature of Light. It ties a lot of the previous lessons together and helps the teacher finalize the basic concepts needed to teach a Unit about Light. I recommend this Object to both middle and high school teachers for both renewing their knowledge or learning more about the nature of light.

Sue Garcia
Sue Garcia

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