Designing a Spectroscopy Mission

In this mind-bending activity, young engineers explore this question of whether or not light actually bends. Using holographic diffraction gratings, groups design and build a spectrograph. The groups then move on research a problem related to solar system spectroscopy and design a mission to address the problem. Presentations of mission designs conclude the activity.

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CCSS: Designed
NGSS: Designed
Instructional Ideas

  • Use this hands-on activity as part of a light unit
  • Coordinate with the math teacher to use this activity after a study of trigonometric ratios 
Classroom Considerations

  • Activity is dependent upon the Building a Fancy Spectrograph activity
  • Holographic diffraction gratings are needed
  • Knowledge of trigonometry is required

  • The materials list provides resources in which to indicates materials that need to be purchased
  • nformation provides an explanation of how diffraction gratings work

  • This is not a stand-alone activity
  • May require mathematical concepts students have not yet learned
Common Core