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Light Spectra Observations

This material was originally created for On the Cutting Edge: Professional Development for Geoscience Faculty
and is replicated here as part of the SERC Pedagogic Service.
Leslie Kanat, Johnson State College
Course: Introduction to Earth Science
44 students
Students remember what they have seen and done much better than they remember what you have told them.

The Activity

I give each student a cheap visible spectrometer to use for the class period. They soon realize that sunlight, fluorescent light, and incandescent light have unique spectral signatures. We talk about our observations, which form the basis of the presentation on the following day: redshift.