Spectrum Unit

So far this is a bare outline for one possible sequence through EM Spectrum. The activities listed will be expanded upon and tested with students. You should feel free to alter them or recommend changes to me (Steve Dickie, falconphysics@gmail.com). This sequence does not use all of the equipment in the kits provided. 

Sequence for Spectrum Unit:

  1. Color Mixing Light Demos and Discussion
    • RGB Fluorescent Lights
    • CD Diffraction Grating
    • Free and or Cheap Spectroscopes kits
    • Do we see light going by? Laser from IR thermometer would be good here.
    • Flashy Ball? - I think Arbor has these.
  2. Computer Based Color investigations
  3. Reflectance vs. Emitted light
  4. How do different plants reflect light differently?
    • Which wavelengths of light are most useful for differentiation of vegetation types?
    • Do we need all of them? What is the fewest number of wavelengths?
    • If you only got to pick three (or 4?), which ones would you pick? Why?
    • Write up a report and recommendation for NASA to consider when planning the next mission.
    • Extension: NASA wants confirmation that your recommendation will work. Given reflectance spectrum data for plants in your area identify the plant based on your own recommendation.
      • Use Red Tide Spectrometer to measure different plants from outside. 
      • Give Data from the different plants to the Students
      • Students will be given an unknown plant sample and asked to identify it based on reflectance using only their recommended wavelengths.
  5. Soil Moisture Content Experiment
    • Build a Calibration curve. How do we do this? Should be a student discussion.
      • Show them several samples of soil with different moisture contents (or possibly a set of pictures, one for each student group).
      • Possible Discussion starters:
        • Which is the driest? Wettest?
          • How can you tell the difference?
        • Can you line them up from wettest to driest?
          • If we added one could you put it in the sequence?
    • Design the mission. You only get to have three image sensors and you need to be able to determine moisture content of soils. Which three wavelengths do you target?
    • Practicum - Determine the moisture content of an unknown sample. The sample should not be one of the points on their calibration curve, but should be an intermediate point.
  6. Extension: Design your own experiment to investigate plant health using only reflected light to quantify.
    • Nutrients
    • Temperature
    • Watering regime
    • Some other stressor
Subpages (1): Color Mixing
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