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This activity introduces students to the basic concepts of light, followed by several simulations that model the interactions of light with matter. Students investigate the wave nature of photons, view models of light/matter interactions, and explore how light energy is converted into heat energy. They may also create their own model photon beam and generate an absorption spectrum. As learners manipulate light intensity and frequency of light, they can visualize the effects on the heating of matter. With this basic understanding, they move to the wavelike properties of photons to explore three ways photons interact with matter: 1) no interaction, 2) absorption, 3) emission. This item is part of the Concord Consortium, a nonprofit research and development organization dedicated to transforming education through technology. Users may register for additional free access to teaching guides, data capture, and tools to adapt/modify the models for customized classroom use.
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