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With the General, Organic and Biological Chemistry (GOB) Lab Kit: Atomic Spectra, investigate continuous and line emission spectra from various sources of light using a spectroscope.

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General, Organic and Biological Chemistry

When a pure atomic gas, such as hydrogen or helium, is subjected to a high-voltage electrical discharge, light is produced and the gas glows. When this light passes through a diffraction grating, a spectrum is produced. Instead of seeing the familiar rainbow of colors, light emitted by the gas produces a series of bright, colored lines. This series of bright lines is called an atomic emission spectrum and is unique to each element.

In this experiment, students investigate continuous and line emission spectra from various sources of light using a spectroscope. Students also use the spectroscope to observe the atomic spectra of different elements in spectrum tubes and to identify the elements that may be present in fluorescent lights, street lamps and novelty “neon” lamps.

Complete for 24 students working in pairs. Gas discharge tubes and power supplies are required and available separately.

Correlation to Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)

Science & Engineering Practices

Asking questions and defining problems
Planning and carrying out investigations
Analyzing and interpreting data
Engaging in argument from evidence
Obtaining, evaluation, and communicating information

Disciplinary Core Ideas

MS-PS4.A: Wave Properties
MS-PS4.B: Electromagnetic Radiation
HS-PS4.A: Wave Properties
HS-PS4.B: Electromagnetic Radiation

Crosscutting Concepts

Scale, proportion, and quantity
Systems and system models

Performance Expectations

MS-PS4-2. Develop and use a model to describe that waves are reflected, absorbed, or transmitted through various materials.
HS-PS4-3. Evaluate the claims, evidence, and reasoning behind the idea that electromagnetic radiation can be described either by a wave model or a particle model, and that for some situations one model is more useful than the other.