Electromagnetic Radiation
Quantum and Nuclear | Light, Sound and Waves

Things you'll need to decide on as you plan: radiating

Teaching Guidance for 14-16 Supporting Physics Teaching

Bringing together two sets of constraints

Focusing on the learners:

Distinguishing–eliciting–connecting. How will you:

  • keep the different radiating mechanisms separate
  • separate the phenomena from the explanations
  • explore the full range of behaviours of each family of radiations
  • identify and demonstrate the phenomena
  • account for the reduction of intensity with increasing separation of detector from source
  • build on what is known from earlier work in light and sound
  • exploit a full range of applications to draw out the wave character of radiations

Teacher Tip: These are all related to findings about children's ideas from research. The teaching activities will provide some suggestions. So will colleagues, near and far.

Focusing on the physics:

Representing–noticing–recording. How will you:

  • separate the lived-in world of phenomena from the models that account for those phenomena
  • introduce amplitude and frequency as fundamental
  • characterise a wave as delayed mimicry, without making the idea of a wave too complex
  • introduce the idea of the trip time, as an essential corollary of radiations travelling
  • develop model-based explanations with real power, rather than give homely analogies
  • develop accounts of increasingly complex situations, relating these to simpler situations
  • present the central ideas of radiating as a unifying theme

Teacher Tip: Connecting what is experienced with what is written and drawn is essential to making sense of the connections between the theoretical world of physics and the lived-in world of the children. Don't forget to exemplify this action.

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