Reflection: Standards Alignment Radiation Journal Time - Section 4: Shared Reflections about Radiation Research


As noted in an earlier reflection, I have struggled with the organization of this unit on Electromagnetics. The NGSS Performance Expectations ask teachers to address wave mathematics, particle/wave duality, induction principles, and health risks to radiation exposure, among other ideas. These are all very reasonable and worthy goals and don't, in any true sense, represent MORE than any previous set of standards. In my attempt to be truly faithful to these Performance Expectations, I've found it a bit daunting to present ideas in a coherent manner. 

Below is a Venn diagram showing my best, current, sense of the way in which Electromagnetics connects to other Physics concepts and standards. 

This particular organizational mechanism is the direct result of a discussion with one of my students. She wondered, while writing her journal during this lesson, if ALL of radiation could be understood by electromagnetics. Because of the ideas of alpha and beta decay, I suggested to her that there was a great, but not complete, overlap between the two ideas. Furthermore, there are parts of electromagnetism that are not, in any direct sense, connected to the concept of radiation (the induction ideas). Finally, the wave ideas inform the lessons, though some portion of wave instruction (the mathematical manipulations of wavelength, period, etc.) could be skipped without harm. The "cosmic ray" entry above is starred as an idea for which there seems to be no corresponding standard.

In future years, I need to consider breaking up this unit into perhaps three segments: electromagnetic induction, waves, and electromagnetic radiation and health concerns. Much will depend upon how this year's holistic approach eventually plays out - will students absorb the variety of ideas though journaling and in-class exercises well enough to warrant repeating this approach?

  Standards Alignment: Organizing Principle For E/M Unit
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Radiation Journal Time

Unit 4: Electromagnetics
Lesson 7 of 17

Objective: Students will continue to explore the nature of light, electromagnetics, and radiation through their radiation journal

Big Idea: Electromagnetic phenomenon are complex; exploring them takes time and reflection.

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