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Electromagnetic Waves in Our Everyday Lives - Giblin, Steed - 8th Grade Science  

We use electromagnetic waves in our everyday lives, whether you are aware of it or not. You watch TV and listen to the radio. Most of you have a cell phone or laptop that you use on a daily basis, and you use the school wireless network.
Last Updated: Sep 13, 2017 URL: Print Guide

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Electromagnetic Waves - Assignment

We use electromagnetic waves in our everyday lives, whether you are aware of it or not. You watch TV and listen to the radio. Most of you have a cell phone or laptop that you use on a daily basis. We use the wireless network here at school when we use the Chromebooks.

You will create a Google Slide to show how we use electromagnetic waves everyday. In your slides, you will need to answer the following questions:

  1. Which of the electromagnetic waves do we (humans) use everyday?
  2. What kind of instruments do we use to convert those waves into information we can understand? (Ex: radio waves are converted into sound waves through a radio transistor)
  3. How have these instruments enhanced our lives? (Think about how we used to get information before we had these instruments...10 years ago, 20 years ago, 50 years ago, 100 years ago.)
  4. What are the mediums that the waves travel through that we use?
  5. How could we increase the amount of information carried? (How much information is used by our current population? What would happen if the population were to increase?)
  6. What would happen if you were no longer able to use these instruments to communicate? (No cell phones, no laptops, no TV, no radio, no devices at all.

Electromagnetic Waves - Everyday Use

Uses of Electromagnetic Waves

  • Wavelength of the ElectroMagnetic spectrum continually changes
  • high frequency = short wavelength
  • high frequency = high energy
  • high energy = more dangerous
Radio Waves (communications)
  • TV and FM radio (short wavelength)
  • Direct line of sight with transmitter (do not diffract)
  • Medium wavelength – travel further because they reflect from layers in the atmosphere

Satellite signals (Microwaves)

  • Frequency of microwaves pass easily through atmosphere and clouds

Cooking (Microwaves)

  • Microwaves are absorbed by water molecules.
  • These water molecules become heated > heat food
  • Dangers: microwaves are absorbed by living tissue Internal heating will damage or kill cells
Infrared Radiation (remote controls, toasters)
  • Any object that radiates heat radiates Infrared Radiation
  • Infrared Radiation is absorbed by all materials and causes heating
  • It is used for night vision and security cameras as Infrared Radiation is visible in daytime or night-time 
  • Police use it to catch criminals, army use it to detect enemy
  • Dangers: damage to cells (burns)
  • Dangers:
    • over-exposure to UVA and B damages surface cells and eyes and can cause cancer.
      • There is a problem with current sunscreens which protect against skin burning from high UVB but give inadequate protection against free radical damage caused by UVA.
      • Dark skins are not necessarily safer from harm.
      • Sun exposure for the skin is best restricted to before 11am and after 3pm in the UK in summer months.
  • Benefits:
    • sanitary and therapeutic properties have a marked effect on architecture, engineering and public health and have done so throughout history.
    • UVC is germicidal, destroying bacteria, viruses and moulds in the air, in water and on surfaces.
    • UV synthesises vitamin D in skin, controls the endocrine system and is a painkiller.
    • Used in state of the art air-handling units, personal air purifiers and swimming pool technology.
    • Used to detect forged bank notes: they fluoresce in UV light; real bank notes don’t. Used to identify items outside visible spectrum areas, known as 'black lighting'.
  • X-rays detect bone breaks
  • X-rays pass through flesh but not dense material like bones
  • Dangers: X-rays damage cells and cause cancers. Radiographer precautions include wearing lead aprons and standing behind a lead screen to minimise exposure
Gamma Rays
  • Gamma Rays cause and treat cancers
  • In high doses, gamma can kill normal cells and cause cancers
  • Gamma can be used to kill mutated cells though too.

Electromagnetic Waves - Rubric


4 Points
3 Points
2 Points
1 Points
0 Points
Title Slide
Title Slide with title, name, class period
Not Included
Four or more instruments discussed in detail
Three instruments discussed in detail
Two instruments discussed
One instrument discussed
None Discussed
Electromagnetic Waves
Two or more EM waves discussed in detail
Two EM waves discussed with some detail
One EM wave discussed in detail
One EM wave discussed with some detail
None Discussed
Two more mediums discussed
One medium discussed
Not Included
Increase Information Carried
Logical and realistic solution to increasing amount of information carried
Solution presented, but not logical or realistic
Not Included
What would happen if...
Logical and realistic scenario of no more devices to communicate
Scenario of no devices but not logical or realistic
No Solution

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