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published by the WGBH Educational Foundation
This three-minute video from NASA introduces the seven categories of the electromagnetic spectrum and explores how each type of radiation affects daily living. Background information and discussion questions are also included.

PBS Learning Media is a growing collection of more than 10,000 free educational resources compiled by researchers and experienced teachers to promote the use of digital resources in the classroom.

Please note that this resource requires Quicktime.
Editor's Note: See Related Materials for a full lesson plan that accompanies this video.
Subjects Levels Resource Types
Education Practices
- Technology
= Multimedia
Electricity & Magnetism
- Electromagnetic Radiation
= Electromagnetic Spectrum
- High School
- Middle School
- Informal Education
- Audio/Visual
= Movie/Animation
Appropriate Courses Categories Ratings
- Physical Science
- Physics First
- Conceptual Physics
- Algebra-based Physics
- AP Physics
- Activity
- New teachers
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General Public
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Does not have a copyright, license, or other use restriction.
E & M, NASA video, X-ray, electromagnetism, gamma rays, infrared, microwaves, radiation, radio waves, ultraviolet, video
Record Cloner:
Metadata instance created November 27, 2008 by Caroline Hall
Record Updated:
September 4, 2014 by Caroline Hall
Last Update
when Cataloged:
March 17, 2008

AAAS Benchmark Alignments (2008 Version)

4. The Physical Setting

4F. Motion
  • 6-8: 4F/M1. Light from the sun is made up of a mixture of many different colors of light, even though to the eye the light looks almost white. Other things that give off or reflect light have a different mix of colors.
  • 6-8: 4F/M5. Human eyes respond to only a narrow range of wavelengths of electromagnetic waves-visible light. Differences of wavelength within that range are perceived as differences of color.
  • 6-8: 4F/M8. There are a great variety of electromagnetic waves: radio waves, microwaves, infrared waves, visible light, ultraviolet rays, X-rays, and gamma rays. These wavelengths vary from radio waves, the longest, to gamma rays, the shortest.

Next Generation Science Standards

Disciplinary Core Ideas (K-12)

Electromagnetic Radiation (PS4.B)
  • Electromagnetic radiation (e.g., radio, microwaves, light) can be modeled as a wave of changing electric and magnetic fields or as particles called photons. The wave model is useful for explaining many features of electromagnetic radiation, and the particle model explains other features. (9-12)

Crosscutting Concepts (K-12)

Scale, Proportion, and Quantity (3-12)
  • Time, space, and energy phenomena can be observed at various scales using models to study systems that are too large or too small. (6-8)
  • Phenomena that can be observed at one scale may not be observable at another scale. (6-8)

This resource is part of a Physics Front Topical Unit.

Topic: Electromagnetism and Electromagnets
Unit Title: Electromagnetic Radiation and the Spectrum

This three-minute NASA video introduces the seven categories of the electromagnetic spectrum in a way that is understandable for middle and high school students.  Requires Quicktime plug-in to operate.

Link to Unit:
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Record Link
AIP Format
(WGBH Educational Foundation, Boston, 2005), WWW Document, (http://www.pbslearningmedia.org/resource/phy03.sci.phys.energy.nasaspectrum/the-electromagnetic-spectrum-nasa/).
PBS Learning Media: The Electromagnetic Spectrum: NASA, (WGBH Educational Foundation, Boston, 2005), <http://www.pbslearningmedia.org/resource/phy03.sci.phys.energy.nasaspectrum/the-electromagnetic-spectrum-nasa/>.
APA Format
PBS Learning Media: The Electromagnetic Spectrum: NASA. (2008, March 17). Retrieved May 24, 2017, from WGBH Educational Foundation: http://www.pbslearningmedia.org/resource/phy03.sci.phys.energy.nasaspectrum/the-electromagnetic-spectrum-nasa/
Chicago Format
WGBH Educational Foundation. PBS Learning Media: The Electromagnetic Spectrum: NASA. Boston: WGBH Educational Foundation, March 17, 2008. http://www.pbslearningmedia.org/resource/phy03.sci.phys.energy.nasaspectrum/the-electromagnetic-spectrum-nasa/ (accessed 24 May 2017).
MLA Format
PBS Learning Media: The Electromagnetic Spectrum: NASA. Boston: WGBH Educational Foundation, 2005. 17 Mar. 2008. 24 May 2017 <http://www.pbslearningmedia.org/resource/phy03.sci.phys.energy.nasaspectrum/the-electromagnetic-spectrum-nasa/>.
BibTeX Export Format
@misc{ Title = {PBS Learning Media: The Electromagnetic Spectrum: NASA}, Publisher = {WGBH Educational Foundation}, Volume = {2017}, Number = {24 May 2017}, Month = {March 17, 2008}, Year = {2005} }
Refer Export Format

%T PBS Learning Media:  The Electromagnetic Spectrum: NASA
%D March 17, 2008
%I WGBH Educational Foundation
%C Boston
%U http://www.pbslearningmedia.org/resource/phy03.sci.phys.energy.nasaspectrum/the-electromagnetic-spectrum-nasa/
%O video/quicktime

EndNote Export Format

%0 Electronic Source
%D March 17, 2008
%T PBS Learning Media:  The Electromagnetic Spectrum: NASA
%I WGBH Educational Foundation
%V 2017
%N 24 May 2017
%8 March 17, 2008
%9 video/quicktime
%U http://www.pbslearningmedia.org/resource/phy03.sci.phys.energy.nasaspectrum/the-electromagnetic-spectrum-nasa/

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Citation Source Information

The AIP Style presented is based on information from the AIP Style Manual.

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PBS Learning Media: The Electromagnetic Spectrum: NASA:

Accompanies EM Spectrum Lesson Plan

This is a lesson plan for grades 9-12 developed for use with Teachers' Domain video segments on the electromagnetic spectrum.

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