Building Technologies to Seek the Invisible

Teachers learn how to build tools to detect the invisible 

December 11, 2010

By Margie Corp for Stars at Yerkes News

Tracing the path of invisible light might sound impossible to do.  But YAAYS teacher Ed Sadler has created a way to do just that.  At the latest edition of the Stars at Yerkes workshops, Ed led teachers into a world of infrared receivers and soldering irons, and boosting the confidence of novice builders to create devices which detect invisible infrared light.Ed Sadler demonstrates the final product of the invisible light detectors. By using inexpensive, easily obtainable materials, participants built their own infrared detectors.  For some of the participants, this was the first time using tools such as soldering irons and shrink heat guns.  "Who knew building equipment could be so fun?" was heard as the detectors were built.  Teachers then tested these detectors using demonstration lens kits.   They noted how comparing the behavior of laser light to the IR light was a great teachable moment as an insight to how the two forms of light have differing frequencies.  Ed also showed the group how the lesson is adaptable for students who are visually impaired and hearing impaired.  By adding visible lights to the end of the detectors (for hearing impaired students) and electronic buzzers (for visually impaired students) in separate set-ups, students with different abilities can access the learning technology.In the end, tracing the invisible rays proved to be a much easier task than imagined.For details about building your own detectors, see the attachment below, or visit our Teacher Resources.