Educator Resources

Attention NSTA Attendees! 

Due to a technical issue, the following lessons will not be available on this webpage until March 30: Cell Phones and Politics: Who Decides if You Get 5G?, Marine Animal Tracking and Bathymetry, Radio Wave Scavenger Hunt with Morse Code Keys, Measuring Sea Surface Temperatures with Satellites, and The Uses of Radio Waves and Frequency Allocation. We apologize for the inconvenience. 

The following lessons have been designed by licensed educators and peer-reviewed. Under the lesson description, you will find blue buttons that allow you to download teacher resources, including a lesson plan. The lesson plans are included as a guide, and you are not required to use them as written. However, these documents have been created using best practices. They include discussion prompts, culturally inclusive/responsive pedagogies, and techniques for engaging students. The green buttons below the description will allow you to download PDFs of the student resources. You are permitted to change any of the activities to fit the needs of your students.


If you use a lesson or part of a lesson in your classroom please fill out the feedback form. Your input will help us improve the quality of resources present on this page.
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High School Curriculum

Mechanical Waves

This lesson reviews the fundamentals of mechanical waves. First, teachers will instruct students in the parts and movement of waves. Then students will work in small groups on several short inquiry activities that will allow them to understand the characteristics of waves. 

Teacher Guide and Lesson Plan
Teacher Instructions for Alternative Lesson
Student Page
Wave Equation Page
Wave Sheet

Photo courtesy of pixabay (

Electromagnetic Waves

In this lesson students will learn how electromagnetic waves are created. They will also participate in four learning stations which will help them better understand the creation and properties of these waves. Lastly, they will create a 3-D model of an electromagnetic wave that they will use as a learning tool.
Teacher Guide and Lesson Plan
Answer Key to Wave Math
Wave Properties Quiz
Student Page
Model instructions
EM wave

Photo courtesy of pixabay (

Electromagnetic Spectrum

In this lesson students will learn about the categories of electromagnetic waves. They will investigate the uses and dangers of one type of these waves and share their findings with peers. Finally, they will debate how one section of the spectrum should be used.
Teacher Guide and Lesson Plan
Bell Work Page
Metric Conversions
Research Page
Student Research Exchange Page
free spectrum

Diagram courtesy of Freepik (

The lessons below require the use of an RTL-SDR dongle.  The technical guide below provides guidance in using this piece of hardware. 

SDR-RTL Technical Guide

Argumentation and Radio Waves

Students will learn about a device that can receive radio signals in the classroom. They will research methods of improving reception and use that knowledge to create a solution to the problem.
Teacher Guide and Lesson Plan
Radio Frequency Bands
Student Page

Photo courtesy of Umesh Gopinath on Unsplash (

Investigating Spectrum Users

During this lesson students will see the radio waves that are passing through their areas visualized on the screen in the classroom. Students will work in small groups to identify the broadcasters of these waves. Lastly, students will work independently to write a persuasive essay about how the spectrum should be shared among users.
Teacher Guide and Lesson Plan
Student Page
spectrum users

Photo of person with radio courtesy of pxfuel (, Photo of antenna courtesy of pixabay (, Picture of portable radios courtesy of pixabay (

Aircraft and Newton's Second Law of Motion

This lesson introduces students to how planes are tracked using radio waves. The lesson continues as students collect data on local planes and use this information to calculate the net Force acting on the plane according to Newton’s second law of motion.
Teacher Guide and Lesson Plan
Example Calculations
Student Page

Picture courtesy of pixabay (

Weather Forecasting and Radio Waves

Students will learn about how weather satellites work then they will analyze some of the pictures created from the data. Students will also learn how Doppler radar works. The lesson concludes with students writing a paper about the role of radio waves in weather forecasting.
Teacher Guide and Lesson Plan
Reading and Video Questions
Student Page

Photo courtesy of NOAA on unsplash (

Satellites and Society

This lesson begins by introducing students to how satellites are involved in world wide communication. Students then read an article about the current status of satellite use and share that information with their peers. Finally, students work with a group of their peers to research one type of satellite and create a presentation or poster which they share with peers.
Teacher Guide and Lesson Plan
Student Page

Photo courtesy of the Smithsonian (

Spectrum Management

Students will investigate the local users of the spectrum and learn about additional users which are not in their area. Then students will work in small groups to create a priority list of spectrum users. The lesson will conclude by students comparing and contrasting their priority list to the priorities set by the federal government.
Teacher Guide and Lesson Plan
Student Page
Users of the Spectrum
How the Spectrum is Allocated Reading

Photo courtesy of Freepik (