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ERIC Number: EJ1115417
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016-Sep
Pages: 5
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0031-921X
Balloon and Button Spectroscopy: A Hands-On Approach to Light and Matter
Ribaudo, Joseph
Physics Teacher, v54 n6 p330-334 Sep 2016
Without question, one of the most useful tools an astronomer or physicist can employ to study the universe is spectroscopy. However, for students in introductory physics or astronomy classes, spectroscopy is a relatively abstract concept that combines new physics topics such as thermal radiation, atomic physics, and the wave and particle nature of light and matter. In response to this conceptual hurdle, we have developed an exercise where balloons represent stars, buttons represent photons, and students produce and interpret spectra by sorting colored buttons.
American Association of Physics Teachers. One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740. Tel: 301-209-3300; Fax: 301-209-0845; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A