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Activity Overview

One fun and easy way to remember the order of the different radiation types is by using this mnemonic: Red monkeys in vans use x-ray glasses”. It's also fun when your students come up with their own! In this activity, students will create an EM Spectrum chart. They should include the uses and dangers of each type of radiation, and can create their own mnemonic. Students can use the chart they created as review, and this activity can be completed at the beginning or the end of a unit.

This activity can easily be differentiated and modified for your students by removing rows and deleting or adding information. Cut up the example chart and get your students to put it together like a jigsaw puzzle. Alternatively, have a student or small group complete a column each, then combine the columns to make a complete spectrum. You may also choose to have students write the wavelength and frequency ranges in the chart, although this can be difficult because often the different radiation parts overlap, and students may find that the numbers found for the ranges vary from website to website.

Template and Class Instructions

(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Copy Activity", update the instructions on the Edit Tab of the assignment.)

Student Instructions

Create a chart that illustrates the electromagnetic spectrum and its properties.

  1. Click "Start Assignment".
  2. Write the names of the types of radiation as the titles of the columns.
  3. Write the frequency and wavelength range under each category.
  4. Write some uses of each type of radiation in the uses row and add some images to illustrate your ideas.
  5. List some dangers to humans of each radiation and in the dangers row. Add some images to illustrate your ideas.
  6. Add any extra information you think is important.

Lesson Plan Reference

Common Core Standards
  • [SCI-MS-PS2-3] Ask questions about data to determine the factors that affect the strength of electric and magnetic forces.
  • [SCI-HS-PS4-3] Evaluate the claims, evidence, and reasoning behind the idea that electromagnetic radiation can be described either by a wave model or a particle model, and that for some situations one model is more useful than the other.


(You can also create your own on Quick Rubric.)

Image Attributions
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