60 minutes to build the spectrograph.
1 class period for each of the activities chosen.
- Have some
prior exposure to the nature and topic of light.
Have sufficient small motor skills to handle cutting and taping.
1 poster and grating for each student
(Available from the Stanford SOLAR Center).
work sheets from Study Guide
The movie "Colors of the Sun", produced by
Stanford SOLAR Center (optional)
Access to various light sources such as incandescent and flourescent bulbs
- The Study Guide (see below) gives additional materials needed for the
Initially build one of the spectrographs
to learn how to construct and use it.
View Completed Spectrograph
Study Guide and Work Sheets:
Build and learn how to use their own working spectrograph.
Observe how white light can be refracted to form a color spectrum that gives
distinctive information about its source.
Learn what spectroscopic data can specifically tell astronomers about the Sun, planets, stars,
and other objects far away.
- Observe that the visible spectrum is
only a part of what our Sun, a star, emits within the electromagnetic spectrum.
Determine that the distance of an object from an observer affects the
apparent size of the object
Understand how technological design can help scientists to better understand
our Earth, our Sun, our solar system, and the universe around us.
Grades 2-4, 5-12
Relationship to National Standards:
The study guide details steps for each activity. The activities are:
Sizing up the Stars:
Students observe that two objects of equal
size can appear to be different sizes when placed at a greater or
lesser distance from the observer. (Grades 2-8)
A Rainbow Connection:
Students observe how white light can be refracted to form a visible
color sectrum that has a pattern. (Grades 2-4)
- From a Distance:
Students utilize their abilities for technological design to perform
science inquiry by proposing methods for obtaining information about a faraway object
with being able to handle or get close to is. (Grades 5-8)
Wavelength and Energy:
A graphic demonstration of the relationship between energy and wavelength.
Designed to initiate a discussion about the electromagnetic spectrum. (Grades 5-8)
Introduces students to the concept of resonance and the absorption of energy
by atoms or molecules when electromagnetic radiation enters the Earth's atmosphere.
Students construct their own spectrograph, observe common light
sources, record their spectra, and compare their findings with fellow classroom
scientisits. (Grades 5-14)
Assessment information is included in the
A glossary is included in the