em song

Yann, Emerson & Wong

Publication date: Accessed on Nov. 7, 2017
Publisher: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bjOGNVH3D4Y



Rationale:  The concept of electromagnetic radiation is central for the study of the interaction of the different types of light with matter. This covers a range of wavelengths or frequencies over which electromagnetic radiation extends. In my experience, students have difficulties when introduced to concepts such as changing magnetic and electric fields that generate one to another subsequently, and produce electromagnetic radiation. I have found that presenting this song is a great starting point to introduce the concept, especially because it describes the different applications in our daily life of the various radiations. I have been playing this song in all my classes of first and second year college students, and found that being quite rhythmic, students like it, and remember it even after several semesters (great example of endurance of knowledge).

Summary:  The song’s chorus reinforces the important concept that “electromagnetic radiation us just a name for a range of radiation”, then, it reviews the radiation types from low to high energy: “Radio waves, microwaves, infrared radiation, visible light, ultraviolet, X-rays, gamma rays”. Then, it describes the different uses of each radiation and after each one repeats the chorus! By the end of the song, the students realize that the song will keep doing the repetition and I start singing myself. Interestingly, many times students clap at the end of the song.


Using the Flesh-Kincaid model, the readability of this song is grade level 9.36.  However, the song’s vocabulary and syntax are easy to understand and follow as it includes pictures and large fonts, i.e. “The electromagnetic spectrum is just a name of a kind of radiation let me tell you what they are. Radio waves, microwaves, infrared radiation, visible light, ultra violet, x-ray, gamma rays. From the TV stations to you living room that is the work of radio waves. Heating food in just second, microwaves do that”

Use in Class

I have used this song in class as a great resource to introduce and reinforce the concepts of radiation. Its simplicity makes it possible that students can listen to it independently and share it with their friends (as I advised them!). The video finished with an image that states “Physics is Fun!” which I think is a great take-home message.

Unit Focus


Submitted by Ulises Reveles

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