Activity Number
316
Editable
Overview and Learning Objectives
Central Concepts
Extensions and Connections
Activity Credits

Excited States and Photons (SAM) (12 pp for 2 days)

Interactive, scaffolded model

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Overview and Learning Objectives

Students explore models to discover that atoms can absorb photons but only if they have exactly the right frequency to match the difference between the energy levels.

For visible light, the color of a photon is related to its energy. Blue photons have the most energy, green photons have less energy, red photons have the least energy of all. Infrared and ultraviolet photons are invisible. Infrared photons don't have enough energy to stimulate your eye, ultraviolet photons have too much.

Students will learn that:

different atoms have different energy levels

when an atom jumps from one energy level to a lower one, it emits a photon of a particular frequency

the energy of the photon is equal to the difference between the atom's energy levels. For visible light, the color of a photon is related to its energy.

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Central Concepts

Key Concept:

Photons are little "wave packets" of light, and light is a form of energy. When an atom jumps from one energy level to a lower one, it emits a photon of a particular frequency. The energy of the photon is equal to the difference between the atom's energy levels.

Additional Related Concepts

Physics/Chemistry

  • Energy
  • Energy transfer
  • Photon

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Extensions and Connections

Fermi Lab's ARISE Project suggests the following enhancement to this SAM unit:

http://www.concord.org/~barbara/SAM/ARISE/ARISE_SAM_photons.pdf

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Activity Credits

Created by CC Project: SAM using Molecular Workbench

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NSF Logo
These materials are based upon work supported
by the National Science Foundation under grant numbers
9980620, ESI-0242701, EIA-0219345, DUE-0402553, and 0628181.

Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this
material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect
the views of the National Science Foundation.