Reflection: Problem-based Approaches What Materials Block Your Phone's Signal? - Section 5: Mobile Phone Transparency Debrief


As seen on the Student Work - Mobile Phone Transparency, there is some variation on groups results (download the resource to see all samples). For example some groups conclude that concrete does block the signal. This might be because they chose an interior wall, so the signal had to go through multiple walls. Also, there is always one or two groups that find that the aluminum foil does not block the signal. The foil should always block (reflect) a mobile phone signal. I hypothesize that this is because the foil touches the antenna of the phone so the foil acts as an extension.

Something that was confusing to several groups what the choice of YES/NO. The question posed on the activity is: "What blocks a phone signal?" So for each item on the list, if students got no signal, they would answer "Yes", meaning that "Yes, this material blocks my signal".  However, several groups answered in the affirmative if they received a signal. I need to change the wording on the sheet to make the instructions clearer.

  Problem-based Approaches: Student Results on Transparency Lab
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What Materials Block Your Phone's Signal?

Unit 5: Waves
Lesson 14 of 15

Objective: Students explore what materials block the microwaves that are emitted or are received by their mobile phones.

Big Idea: Electromagnetic radiation interacts with matter in three ways: absorbed, reflected or transmitted.

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8 teachers like this lesson
microwaves, Science, radio waves, electromagnetic spectrum, physics, electromagnetic radiation, electromagnetic waves
  50 minutes
mobile phone in al
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