Monday, December 20, 2010

Science Lesson #6: Electromagnetic Waves

In this lesson, students learn all about the various behavior and properties of electromagnetic waves.

Electromagnetic waves include waves of light and the colors that we see along with gamma ray, x-rays, ultra violet and infrared radiation, and microwaves. All these waves are made up of quanta, which is the scientific term for packets of energy. Photon is also an important vocabulary word for this episode. A photon is the unit of light or electromagnetic radiation. It's also the name of my friend Ben's old band!

The science discussion throughout this episode can include the following ideas:

- what is a photon? why are they important to know about
- the relationship between photons, color, wavelength, and energy
- types of electromagnetic radiation (see above)
- why we see colors the way we do
- quanta = packets of energy
- how we can relate color to energy in far away objects like stars

I was thinking that for the character part of this episode, the Crew aboard the ship are going on vacation to California. Venice beach, exactly. They're all excited about going on vacation and this can have a lot of gags with goofy swim suits and beach stuff. Sergio finds a pair of heart-shaped sunglasses (that fit his heart-shaped eyes perfectly) that let him see things all weird and psychedelic when he looks through them. This can lead into a conversation about why we see colors the way we do and so on and so forth into the science lesson on E&M waves. Sergio loves the glasses but everyone else that tries them on can't tell any difference. I keep thinking of that John Carpenter movie They Live but without super scary alien/skeleton/mind control angle.  Maybe it would be really funny if the episode DOES turn into a They Live spoof, with silly puppets and shennanigans going on behind Sergio's glasses. The weirdness in the world of Sergios glasses crescendos throughout the episode so that by the end he wants nothing to do with the glasses anymore. Ha, yes. I like this idea.

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