Ed currently works for the newly founded Institute for Educational Outreach. His hobbies include backpacking and MIDI-based musical composition.
Instructional Objective The learner will be able to identify the use and relative size of any frequency on the electromagnetic spectrum.
This card game is designed as a lab exercise soon after the introduction of particles, radiation, energy and light. This game is played just like a conventional game of Hearts. Because the deck is designed like a standard playing deck, it can be used for many other games such as war and poker. The Hearts version of the game is preferred for advanced students and is described here.
Using this approach, the student is encouraged to conceptualize the electromagnetic spectrum by the relative size of the wavelengths presented. Since it is easier to think of International Broadcast Bands (5.95 - 26.1 MHz) as approximately 50 meters in length rather than 5 million centimeters, associations can be made between the function and the size of the frequencies.
1. The 52-card deck is shuffled and dealt to all players in standard fashion (13 cards per player). Each player is given time to organize their cards in order of frequency. Once the players are ready, the person with the "Rotating Generator" card goes first. The first card (Rotating Generator in this case) is placed face up in the middle of the players. In clockwise order, everyone else puts in a face-up card of the same suit (the valid suits being Power/Phone, Radio Waves, Microwaves Infrared, Ultra Violet, X-Rays and Gamma Rays). Whoever has the highest frequency of that suit, wins the trick. The winner places the four cards nearby for a later tally. The winner of the trick lays down another card of any suit. Clockwise, everyone else puts in a face-up card of the same suit. The person with the highest suit takes the trick and so on. This process is repeated until all 13 tricks have been played.
2. If a player does not have a card of the suit played, that player may substitute, otherwise known as sluff, any other card. No matter what the value of a sluffed card is, that card can never win a trick.
3. Infinity cards can only be played if one has already been sluffed.
4. Once all cards have been played, each player examines all of their tricks for Infinity cards. Each player gains ten points for each Infinity card taken. There is one exception to this rule. If a player obtains all three Infinity cards, the other three players all gain ten points. This is called Shooting the Moon. This provides any player an opportunity to turn a losing game into a winning game.
Card and Deck Design Each card, except for the Infinity cards, has four types of playing information: The suit, frequency, use and relative wavelength. These fields help the student to identify the value of the card.
The 52 card deck is comprised of eight suits. There are six values for each suit except for visible light which has 7. The remaining three cards are the Infinity cards.
Design Process The topic alone provided a plethora of ideas for games. In an effort to keep the rules and the game simple, the standard 52 card deck appeared to be the obvious choice. As previously mentioned, two or more people can play a simple game of war with this deck (high card wins the trick).
The original card design included the actual wavelength for each frequency measured in centimeters. This additional field appeared to make the cards too noisy and intimidating for the learners.
The frequencies and comparisons are only approximations and have not been verified.
Suit Use Freq. Length in cm Relative size Power and Rotating Generator 1 100,000,000,00 2 Earth's Phone 0 circumference Microphone 10 50,000,000,000 Earth's circumference Audio Frequency 50 10,000,000,000 Asian continent Transmission lines 10^2 5,000,000,000 Earth's diameter Electrical Outlet 10^2.5 100,000,000 California's length Telephone line 10^3 50,000,000 Rhode Island's width Radio Waves AM Radio 10^3.5 10,000,000 1/2 Mile International Broadcast 10^4 5,000,000 30 Meters Marine Navigation 10^4.5 1,000,000 15 Meters Low VHF 10^5 500,000 8 Meters FM Radio 10^5.5 100,000 4 Meters High VHF 10^6 50,000 1 Meter Microwaves UHF Broadcast 10^6.5 10,000 30 Inches Magnetrons 10^7 5,000 28 Inches Klystrons 10^7.5 1,000 26 Inches Harmonic Generators 10^8 500 24 Inches Microwave Oven 10^8.5 100 22 Inches Masers 10^9 50 20 Inches Infrared Fasers 10^9.5 10 4 Inches Welbach Mantles 10^10 5 2 Inches Far Infrared 10^10.5 1 1 Centimeter Intermediate Infrared 10^11 0.5 Fruit seed Low-light vision 10^11.5 0.1 Millimeter Laser 10^12 0.05 Pinhead Visible Red 10^14.1 0.0007 Protozoa Light Orange 10^14.2 0.0006 Ameoba Yellow 10^14.3 0.0005 Golgi Apparatus Green 10^14.4 0.0004 Escherichia coil Blue 10^14.5 0.0003 Vacuole Indigo 10^14.6 0.0002 Prokaryotic cell Violet 10^14.7 0.0001 Neurotransmitter Ultra Violet Kelvin Temp 10k 10^16 0.00005 Mitochondrion Kelvin Temp 20k 10^16.2 0.00001 Polio Virus 5 Kelvin Temp 30k 10^16.5 0.000005 Tobacco mosaic virus Kelvin Temp 40k 10^17 0.000001 Adenovirus virus Kelvin Temp 50k 10^17.2 0.0000005 Eubacterial 5 flagellum Kelvin Temp 60k 10^17.5 0.0000001 Atom X-Rays Radiography: 10^18 0.00000005 Half-Atom Superficial Therapy Radiography: 10^18.2 0.00000001 Two Angstroms Diagnostics 5 Radiography: Deep 10^18.5 0.000000005 Angstrom therapy GRE: Light Materials 10^19 0.000000001 Half-Angstrom GRE: General 10^19.2 0.0000000005 Quarter-Angstrom 5 GRE: Welds and Heavy 10^19.5 0.0000000001 100th Angstrom Casting Gamma Rays Linear Accelerators 10^20 0.00000000005 Milli-Angstrom Betatrons 10^22.5 0.00000000001 Oxygen nuclei Synchrotrons 10^23 0.000000000001 Helium nuclei Cyclotrons 10^23.5 0.000000000000 Electron 1 Secondary Cosmic Rays 10^24 0.000000000000 Sub-atomic 01 particles Tertiary Cosmic Rays 10^24 0.000000000000 Quark 001 Unknown Unknown 10^? Infinity Infinity Unknown 10^? Infinity Infinity Unknown 10^? Infinity Infinity