Carolina® Electromagnetic Spectrometer Classroom Kit


This kit was built for use with the Microsoft® Hacking STEM Project, What Is the Electromagnetic Spectrum?


Orbiting Earth at 250 miles up, the crew of the International Space Station is exposed to higher levels of radiation in space than they are on Earth because they are outside of the protective atmosphere. Students use ultraviolet (UV) sensitive beads to explore sources of UV light, then build a simple spectrometer to measure the different wavelengths of light. Using a custom Excel® workbook, they first compare how various light sources have different wavelengths, then use their findings to determine when they might need UV protection.


Classroom kit includes materials for 6 student stations and takes 1-1/2 to 3 weeks of classroom time.

The project requires materials from the Carolina® Arduino Microcontroller Kit (item #770050) or the Carolina® micro:bit Microcontroller Kit (item #770055) and the Carolina® Tool Kit (item #770060). Please check the “What’s Included” tab for details.


Build and Learn
Students build a simple spectrometer using LEDs as light sensors for 5 different colours, or wavelengths, of light both visible and invisible to humans: infrared (IR), red, green, blue, and ultraviolet (UV). Students connect their spectrometer to a microcontroller to detect the different wavelengths present in various light sources to see how lights emit different wavelengths and to identify sources of UV light.


Connect Your Tools
Students connect their spectrometer to the Excel® workbook via a microcontroller. They use the graphics in the Excel® workbook to visualize and observe changes in the wavelengths of light across different light sources.


Visualize the Data
Students use the digital spectrometer to visualize and compare the intensity and type of wavelengths emitted by various light sources. The lesson enables students to be scientists conducting tests that examine wavelengths present in different light sources, make comparisons across tested light sources, and identify sources of UV wavelengths.


Project instructions, technical requirements, and lesson plans are found at the Microsoft® Hacking STEM Projects website.


Microsoft® Hacking STEM Projects are a collection of inquiry-driven, standards-aligned lesson plans that integrate visualizing data into existing science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) curriculum. These hands-on activities engage students in computational and design thinking and situate them in solving real-world problems.

  • What’s included?

    • 2 Prisms
    • 300 UV Beads
    • 25 Infrared (IR) LEDs
    • 10 Ultraviolet (UV) LEDs
    • 10 Red LEDs
    • 10 Green LEDs
    • 10 Blue LEDs
    • 10 Yellow LEDs
    • 30 Resistors, 10 Ohm
    • 42 Male-to-Male Jumper Wires
    • 6 Emery Boards


    Needed But Not Included:

    • 6 Arduino Uno or micro:bit Microcontrollers
    • 6 USB Cables Type A to Type B or Type A to Micro
    • 6 SparkFun micro:bit Breakouts

Additional information

Weight 1.5 kg
Dimensions 27 × 37 × 38 cm


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