Electromagnetic Spectrum 5E Lesson Plan- Kesler Science

At the end of this comprehensive electromagnetic spectrum lesson plan, students will be able to explore how different wavelengths of the electromagnetic spectrum are used to gain information about distance and properties of objects in the universe. Students will also be able to interpret the electromagnetic spectrum. Each lesson is designed using the 5E method of instruction to ensure maximum comprehension by the students.

The following post will walk you through each of the steps and activities of the electromagnetic spectrum lesson plan.


At the beginning of the lesson, the class will discuss the objectives and some of the relevant vocabulary using the included objective statements and word wall cards.

Electromagnetic Spectrum 5E LessonElectromagnetic Spectrum 5E Lesson

The engagement activity continues with a Think-Pair-Share brainstorm activity. Students will look at a PDF with a number of quotes from astronomers. Students will partner up read and then summarize each quote. Students will then answer questions on a sheet of paper. The teacher will help to clear any misconceptions like there are more stars within our solar system, and how it isn’t possible to determine the composition of stars so far away.

Estimated Class Time for the Engagement: 20-30 minutes


This student-centered station lab is set up so students can begin to explore the electromagnetic spectrum. Four of the stations are considered input stations where students are learning new information about the electromagnetic spectrum, and four of the stations are output stations where students will be demonstrating their mastery of the input stations.  Each of the stations is differentiated to challenge students using a different learning style.  You can read more about how I set up the station labs here.


Students will be working in pairs to identify the full spectrum of 2 unknown stars. Students will identify the elements that make up each star and record their findings on their lab sheet.

Electromagnetic Spectrum 5E Lesson Plan- Kesler Science


At this station, students will be watching a five-minute video about the electromagnetic spectrum. The video will explain to students how the spectrum works and the many different waves that we experience every single day. Students will then answer 3 questions related to the video and record their answers on their lab station sheet.


The research station will allow students to go online and watch an interactive presentation about the electromagnetic spectrum. Students will then be asked to answer 2 questions based on what they learned.

Electromagnetic Spectrum 5E Lesson


This station will provide students with a one page reading about the electromagnetic spectrum.  Students are asked four questions about the reading, including vocabulary, alternate titles, fill in the blanks, and what kinds of waves do eyes detect.


The assess it station is where students will go to prove mastery over the concepts they learned in the lab.  The questions are set up in a standardized format with multiple choice answers.  Some questions will ask students to compare wavelengths, frequencies, and why scientists use them.

Electromagnetic Spectrum 5E Lesson


Students who can answer open-ended questions about the lab truly understand the concepts that are being taught.  At this station the students will be answering three questions, like describing low and high-frequency wavelengths, defining vocabulary in their own words, describing how scientists use the electromagnetic spectrum to find properties of distant stars.


Your visual students will love this station.  Students will be sketching an electromagnetic spectrum and labeling the waves in the correct spots.

Electromagnetic Spectrum 5E Lesson


The organize it station allows your students to use a manipulative to ensure their understanding of the electromagnetic spectrum. Students will use cards to match descriptions of wavelengths to correctly identify the wavelength.

Estimated Class Time for the Exploration: 1-2, 45 minute class periods


The explanation activities will become much more engaging for the class once they have completed the exploration station lab.  During the explanation piece, the teacher will be clearing up any misconceptions about electromagnetic spectrum with an interactive PowerPoint, anchor charts, and interactive notebook activities. The electromagnetic spectrum lesson includes a PowerPoint with activities scattered throughout to keep the students engaged.

Electromagnetic Spectrum 5E LessonElectromagnetic Spectrum 5E Lesson

Estimated Class Time for the Exploration: 2-3, 45 minute class periods


The elaboration section of the 5E method of instruction is intended to give students choice on how they can prove mastery of the concept.  When students are given choice the ‘buy-in’ is much greater than when the teacher tells them the project they will have to create.  Each of the electromagnetic spectrum projects will allow students to explain how it is used, and how it helps scientists get information about distant stars.Electromagnetic Spectrum 5E Lesson

Estimated Class Time for the Elaboration: 2-3, 45 minute class periods (can also be used as an at-home project)


The final piece of the 5E model is to evaluate student comprehension.  Included in every 5E lesson is a homework assignment, assessment, and modified assessment.  Research has shown that homework needs to be meaningful and applicable to real-world activities in order to be effective.  When possible, I like to give open-ended assessments to truly gauge the student’s comprehension.

Estimated Class Time for the Elaboration: 1, 45 minute class period


The full lesson is available for download from my TpT store.  Save yourself a ton of time and grab it now.