No James Bond this year – have I short-changed my students?

Simon Porter
30th October 2015 at 15:33

Simon Porter, Subject Genius, Electromagnetic spectrum

It’s that time of year again with year 10 - I enter my darkened classroom to the James Bond theme, dressed in dinner jacket and brandishing a water pistol. I leap on the nearest desk and creep along to the back of the class. I hop over a craftily hid laser beam (visible light) using talcum powder to show its whereabouts. When I get back to the front of the class I turn the music off and get out my cell phone(microwaves) and have an imaginary conversation with M. “M? Yes, I made it and I’m in. I’ll have a look in the safe”. I open a cash box or small safe to find a box with radioactive sources (or radioactive rocks) and Geiger counter. “Yes M, the gamma emitting rocks are here. I’ll test the money too”. I take out some money and test it with the ultraviolet light which is also hidden in the safe. “I’ll have to wait a while, but it’s cold in here!”. I then find an electric heater (infrared) near the safe and turn it on along with a radio whilst I’m waiting. I then turn the theme music on again and creep out the class.

On my swift return to the lesson I ask “What was that all about?” and get the students in groups to discuss the links. “Waves” does come up and we try to classify the different waves. Eventually I introduce them to the family of similar waves called the electromagnetic spectrum and discuss their common properties (all travel at the speed of light, all can travel through a vacuum and all are made of interacting electric and magnetic fields). Students then make a “mini-book” detailing the properties of each type of wave and its wavelength.

Only this year I didn’t do this!  I’m a little behind and didn’t have time to set up the lesson. I talked through the spectrum using the PowerPoint below, but they did do the mini-books. I feel a little guilty, but sometimes you just have to get on with it and leave the fun lessons for another time.

Please see Simon's resource on this topic:

Simon Porter works for premium international school organisation Nord Anglia Education.