Photoelectric Effect: An AAPT Mini-Unit for High School Physics
written by
Alice Flarend
edited by
Caroline Hall
In this 3-part lesson, students construct simple electroscopes to gather evidence for the energy needed to cause the photoelectric effect, explore a digital model to deepen understanding of factors that cause photoemission in different metals, and evaluate both the wave and particle models of light to determine which best explains the photoelectric effect. The lessons explicitly address NGSS content standards relating to the photoelectric effect and provide comprehensive support for teaching about the phenomenon in a high school classroom. The topic is presented within the real-life context of photovoltaic cells in solar panels.
Waves and Their Applications in Technologies for Information Transfer (HS-PS4)
Students who demonstrate understanding can: (9-12)
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. (HS-PS4-3)
Earth and Human Activity (HS-ESS3)
Students who demonstrate understanding can: (9-12)
Evaluate or refine a technological solution that reduces impacts of human activities on natural systems. (HS-ESS3-4)
Disciplinary Core Ideas (K-12)
Energy in Chemical Processes (PS3.D)
Solar cells are human-made devices that likewise capture the sun's energy and produce electrical energy. (9-12)
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)
Photoelectric materials emit electrons when they absorb light of a high-enough frequency. (9-12)
Human Impacts on Earth Systems (ESS3.C)
Scientists and engineers can make major contributions by developing technologies that produce less pollution and waste and that preclude ecosystem degradation. (9-12)
Crosscutting Concepts (K-12)
Cause and Effect (K-12)
Cause and effect relationships can be suggested and predicted for complex natural and human designed systems by examining what is known about smaller scale mechanisms within the system. (9-12)
Energy and Matter (2-12)
Changes of energy and matter in a system can be described in terms of energy and matter flows into, out of, and within that system. (9-12)
NGSS Science and Engineering Practices (K-12)
Analyzing and Interpreting Data (K-12)
Analyzing data in 9–12 builds on K–8 and progresses to introducing more detailed statistical analysis, the comparison of data sets for consistency, and the use of models to generate and analyze data. (9-12)
Analyze data using tools, technologies, and/or models (e.g., computational, mathematical) in order to make valid and reliable scientific claims or determine an optimal design solution. (9-12)
Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions (K-12)
Constructing explanations and designing solutions in 9–12 builds on K–8 experiences and progresses to explanations and designs that are supported by multiple and independent student-generated sources of evidence consistent with scientific ideas, principles, and theories. (9-12)
Construct an explanation based on valid and reliable evidence obtained from a variety of sources (including students' own investigations, models, theories, simulations, peer review) and the assumption that theories and laws that describe the natural world operate today as they did in the past and will continue to do so in the future. (9-12)
Developing and Using Models (K-12)
Modeling in 9–12 builds on K–8 and progresses to using, synthesizing, and developing models to predict and show relationships among variables between systems and their components in the natural and designed worlds. (9-12)
Use a model based on evidence to illustrate the relationships between systems or between components of a system. (9-12)
Planning and Carrying Out Investigations (K-12)
Planning and carrying out investigations in 9-12 builds on K-8 experiences and progresses to include investigations that provide evidence for and test conceptual, mathematical, physical, and empirical models. (9-12)
Plan and conduct an investigation individually and collaboratively to produce data to serve as the basis for evidence, and in the design: decide on types, how much, and accuracy of data needed to produce reliable measurements and consider limitations on the precision of the data (e.g., number of trials, cost, risk, time), and refine the design accordingly. (9-12)
Using Mathematics and Computational Thinking (5-12)
Mathematical and computational thinking at the 9–12 level builds on K–8 and progresses to using algebraic thinking and analysis, a range of linear and nonlinear functions including trigonometric functions, exponentials and logarithms, and computational tools for statistical analysis to analyze, represent, and model data. Simple computational simulations are created and used based on mathematical models of basic assumptions. (9-12)
Use mathematical and/or computational representations of phenomena or design solutions to support explanations. (9-12)
NGSS Nature of Science Standards (K-12)
Analyzing and Interpreting Data (K-12)
Analyzing data in 9–12 builds on K–8 and progresses to introducing more detailed statistical analysis, the comparison of data sets for consistency, and the use of models to generate and analyze data. (9-12)
Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions (K-12)
Constructing explanations and designing solutions in 9–12 builds on K–8 experiences and progresses to explanations and designs that are supported by multiple and independent student-generated sources of evidence consistent with scientific ideas, principles, and theories. (9-12)
Developing and Using Models (K-12)
Modeling in 9–12 builds on K–8 and progresses to using, synthesizing, and developing models to predict and show relationships among variables between systems and their components in the natural and designed worlds. (9-12)
Planning and Carrying Out Investigations (K-12)
Planning and carrying out investigations in 9-12 builds on K-8 experiences and progresses to include investigations that provide evidence for and test conceptual, mathematical, physical, and empirical models. (9-12)
Using Mathematics and Computational Thinking (5-12)
Mathematical and computational thinking at the 9–12 level builds on K–8 and progresses to using algebraic thinking and analysis, a range of linear and nonlinear functions including trigonometric functions, exponentials and logarithms, and computational tools for statistical analysis to analyze, represent, and model data. Simple computational simulations are created and used based on mathematical models of basic assumptions. (9-12)
Common Core State Reading Standards for Literacy in Science and Technical Subjects 6—12
Key Ideas and Details (6-12)
RST.11-12.1 Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of science and technical texts, attending to important distinctions the author makes and to any gaps or inconsistencies in the account.
Integration of Knowledge and Ideas (6-12)
RST.11-12.9 Synthesize information from a range of sources (e.g., texts, experiments, simulations) into a coherent understanding of a process, phenomenon, or concept, resolving conflicting information when possible.
Common Core State Writing Standards for Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects 6—12
Text Types and Purposes (6-12)
1. Write arguments focused on discipline-specific content. (WHST.11-12.1)
Waves and Their Applications in Technologies for Information Transfer (HS-PS4)
Students who demonstrate understanding can: (9-12)
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. (HS-PS4-3)
Earth and Human Activity (HS-ESS3)
Students who demonstrate understanding can: (9-12)
Evaluate or refine a technological solution that reduces impacts of human activities on natural systems. (HS-ESS3-4)
Disciplinary Core Ideas (K-12)
Energy in Chemical Processes (PS3.D)
Solar cells are human-made devices that likewise capture the sun's energy and produce electrical energy. (9-12)
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)
Photoelectric materials emit electrons when they absorb light of a high-enough frequency. (9-12)
Human Impacts on Earth Systems (ESS3.C)
Scientists and engineers can make major contributions by developing technologies that produce less pollution and waste and that preclude ecosystem degradation. (9-12)
Crosscutting Concepts (K-12)
Cause and Effect (K-12)
Cause and effect relationships can be suggested and predicted for complex natural and human designed systems by examining what is known about smaller scale mechanisms within the system. (9-12)
Energy and Matter (2-12)
Changes of energy and matter in a system can be described in terms of energy and matter flows into, out of, and within that system. (9-12)
NGSS Science and Engineering Practices (K-12)
Analyzing and Interpreting Data (K-12)
Analyzing data in 9–12 builds on K–8 and progresses to introducing more detailed statistical analysis, the comparison of data sets for consistency, and the use of models to generate and analyze data. (9-12)
Analyze data using tools, technologies, and/or models (e.g., computational, mathematical) in order to make valid and reliable scientific claims or determine an optimal design solution. (9-12)
Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions (K-12)
Constructing explanations and designing solutions in 9–12 builds on K–8 experiences and progresses to explanations and designs that are supported by multiple and independent student-generated sources of evidence consistent with scientific ideas, principles, and theories. (9-12)
Construct an explanation based on valid and reliable evidence obtained from a variety of sources (including students' own investigations, models, theories, simulations, peer review) and the assumption that theories and laws that describe the natural world operate today as they did in the past and will continue to do so in the future. (9-12)
Developing and Using Models (K-12)
Modeling in 9–12 builds on K–8 and progresses to using, synthesizing, and developing models to predict and show relationships among variables between systems and their components in the natural and designed worlds. (9-12)
Use a model based on evidence to illustrate the relationships between systems or between components of a system. (9-12)
Planning and Carrying Out Investigations (K-12)
Planning and carrying out investigations in 9-12 builds on K-8 experiences and progresses to include investigations that provide evidence for and test conceptual, mathematical, physical, and empirical models. (9-12)
Plan and conduct an investigation individually and collaboratively to produce data to serve as the basis for evidence, and in the design: decide on types, how much, and accuracy of data needed to produce reliable measurements and consider limitations on the precision of the data (e.g., number of trials, cost, risk, time), and refine the design accordingly. (9-12)
Using Mathematics and Computational Thinking (5-12)
Mathematical and computational thinking at the 9–12 level builds on K–8 and progresses to using algebraic thinking and analysis, a range of linear and nonlinear functions including trigonometric functions, exponentials and logarithms, and computational tools for statistical analysis to analyze, represent, and model data. Simple computational simulations are created and used based on mathematical models of basic assumptions. (9-12)
Use mathematical and/or computational representations of phenomena or design solutions to support explanations. (9-12)
NGSS Nature of Science Standards (K-12)
Analyzing and Interpreting Data (K-12)
Analyzing data in 9–12 builds on K–8 and progresses to introducing more detailed statistical analysis, the comparison of data sets for consistency, and the use of models to generate and analyze data. (9-12)
Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions (K-12)
Constructing explanations and designing solutions in 9–12 builds on K–8 experiences and progresses to explanations and designs that are supported by multiple and independent student-generated sources of evidence consistent with scientific ideas, principles, and theories. (9-12)
Developing and Using Models (K-12)
Modeling in 9–12 builds on K–8 and progresses to using, synthesizing, and developing models to predict and show relationships among variables between systems and their components in the natural and designed worlds. (9-12)
Planning and Carrying Out Investigations (K-12)
Planning and carrying out investigations in 9-12 builds on K-8 experiences and progresses to include investigations that provide evidence for and test conceptual, mathematical, physical, and empirical models. (9-12)
Using Mathematics and Computational Thinking (5-12)
Mathematical and computational thinking at the 9–12 level builds on K–8 and progresses to using algebraic thinking and analysis, a range of linear and nonlinear functions including trigonometric functions, exponentials and logarithms, and computational tools for statistical analysis to analyze, represent, and model data. Simple computational simulations are created and used based on mathematical models of basic assumptions. (9-12)
Common Core State Reading Standards for Literacy in Science and Technical Subjects 6—12
Key Ideas and Details (6-12)
RST.11-12.1 Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of science and technical texts, attending to important distinctions the author makes and to any gaps or inconsistencies in the account.
Integration of Knowledge and Ideas (6-12)
RST.11-12.9 Synthesize information from a range of sources (e.g., texts, experiments, simulations) into a coherent understanding of a process, phenomenon, or concept, resolving conflicting information when possible.
Common Core State Writing Standards for Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects 6—12
Text Types and Purposes (6-12)
1. Write arguments focused on discipline-specific content. (WHST.11-12.1)
<a href="https://www.compadre.org/precollege/items/detail.cfm?ID=14702">Flarend, Alice. "Photoelectric Effect: An AAPT Mini-Unit for High School Physics." Edited by Caroline Hall.. 2018.</a>
A. Flarend, Photoelectric Effect: An AAPT Mini-Unit for High School Physics, 2018, <https://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=14702&DocID=4878>.
Flarend, A. (2018). Photoelectric Effect: An AAPT Mini-Unit for High School Physics. Retrieved September 19, 2024, from https://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=14702&DocID=4878
Flarend, Alice. "Photoelectric Effect: An AAPT Mini-Unit for High School Physics." Edited by Caroline Hall.. 2018. https://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=14702&DocID=4878 (accessed 19 September 2024).
Flarend, Alice. Photoelectric Effect: An AAPT Mini-Unit for High School Physics. 2018. 19 Sep. 2024 <https://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=14702&DocID=4878>.
%A Alice Flarend %T Photoelectric Effect: An AAPT Mini-Unit for High School Physics %E Caroline Hall, (ed) %D June 18, 2018 %U https://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=14702&DocID=4878 %O application/ms-word
%0 Report %A Flarend, Alice %D June 18, 2018 %T Photoelectric Effect: An AAPT Mini-Unit for High School Physics %E Hall, Caroline %8 June 18, 2018 %U https://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=14702&DocID=4878
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