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.

Electromagnetic Radiation
can be represented by The Electromagnetic Spectrum
has the special case Visible Light
is used in analyses relating to X-Ray Scanning
features in Medical Physics

Disable node explorer

2023 IOP Awards

Teachers of Physics Awards

Recognising and celebrating outstanding contributions to the field of physics education.

Learn more