Electromagnetic Waves and Spectrum Activity NGSS Research Project HS-PS4-5

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Grade Levels
9th - 12th, Homeschool
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6 pages
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Newly updated as a digital PDF for in person, home or distance learning, this OPEN-ENDED and ENGAGING NGSS middle or high school research project challenges students to investigate the behavior and interactions of one of the electromagnetic waves and devices to fulfill the NGSS Performance Expectation HS-PS4-5. Communicate technical information about how some technological devices use the principles of wave behavior and wave interactions with matter to transmit and capture information and energy.

Simply print and assign or attach to Google Classroom (or whatever platform you use!)

Overview. Students:

  1. research an electromagnetic wave of their choice
  2. choose a device that uses that wave to transmit energy
  3. develop and design a presentation
  4. present a project (using a prop of some kind) on one wave of the electromagnetic spectrum of their interest that is used by a technological device to transmit and capture information and energy.

It is designed for high school students and is an OPEN-ENDED project, meaning students are free to choose what device to research, what information/how much to share, and how they will present it to the class.

Product includes:

  • Clear directions page
  • Student research outline (helps keep students on track with what the requirements are)
  • Considerations for project
  • Example devices for students who need help
  • Rubric for easy grading

Example waves and devices for students who require more scaffolding are:

  • Radio/micro waves – satellite communication, police radar
  • Visible Light – solar cells
  • X-rays – x-rays or other medical imaging
  • Infrared – Wii and XBOX Kinect
  • Gamma rays – radiation therapy

Students can work alone or in groups, and it comes with a project outline as well as a DETAILED rubric for easy grading!

For more distance learning resources, click here: Distance/Home Learning Resources

Interested in other NGSS aligned Waves lessons and labs? Check out the links below. Although these are geared more towards middle school, they may be useful for high school as well.

Introduction to Waves Activity

Properties of Waves Labs

Modeling Reflection of Light Lab

Electromagnetic Spectrum Activity

Modeling Analog and Digital Signals Unit

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Looking for ways to assess student understanding of the NGSS on tests, pre-assessments, exit tickets, etc.? Then, check out my newest line of NGSS Assessment Questions here: NGSS Assessments and Task Questions

Looking for other middle school science resources: NGSS lessons, units, activities, templates, etc.? Check out my store for more here: Store Link.

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Buy the bundle and have access to all NGSS resources!

NOTE: This activity CANNOT be found in any of the bundles due to it being more closely aligned with high school standards than middle school.

Middle School Bundles:

NGSS Physical Science Bundle: Click Here

NGSS Life Science Bundle: Click Here

NGSS Earth Science Bundle: Click Here

NGSS All Resources Bundle: Click Here

Feel free to share my website with colleagues. Each purchase is a license for ONE person to use in a classroom setting per my Terms of Use. Distribution or sharing of any products are in violation of copyright law.


Total Pages
6 pages
Answer Key
Rubric only
Teaching Duration
1 Week
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to see state-specific standards (only available in the US).
Integrate and evaluate information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively, and orally.
Present information, findings, and supporting evidence such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning and the organization, development, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
Make strategic use of digital media and visual displays of data to express information and enhance understanding of presentations.
Adapt speech to a variety of contexts and communicative tasks, demonstrating command of formal English when indicated or appropriate.
Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of science and technical texts, attending to the precise details of explanations or descriptions.


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