This activity demonstrates how white light, such as that from an overhead projector, is broken up into its component colors by a diffraction grating. Students will learn the relationships between light's wavelength, frequency, and energy and how to convert between any of these characterizations of a particular color of light. They will understand that light can be described in many ways, (energy, wavelength, or frequency) and that all three terms are equally important and interrelated. They will also learn that each color in the spectrum has a distinct energy, but also a specific wavelength and frequency. They will recognize that the convention is that infrared light and visible light are usually described by wavelength, radio waves in terms of frequency, and high-energy X-rays and gamma-rays in terms of energy.


  • Science > General
  • Science > Physics
  • Science > Physical Sciences

Education Levels:

  • Grade 1
  • Grade 2
  • Grade 3
  • Grade 4
  • Grade 5
  • Grade 6
  • Grade 7
  • Grade 8
  • Grade 9
  • Grade 10
  • Grade 11
  • Grade 12


Informal Education,NSDL_SetSpec_ncs-NSDL-COLLECTION-000-003-112-021,Higher Education,NSDL,Technical Education (Lower Division),Science,Undergraduate (Lower Division),Science -- Physics,General Public,Science -- Physical sciences,High School,Vocational/Professional Development Education,Physics,Geoscience,oai:nsdl.org:2200/20110201172846163T,Technical Education (Upper Division)



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