Before using these tasks, consider reviewing the Guidance for Use document, which provides suggestions for the most effective ways the TDSciN Task Library can be used to support high-quality science teaching and learning.


close up of hand and cell phone

Driving Phenomenon: Students read a story about Melody’s cell phone signal dropping in the basement of a library even though a cell tower is close by. They try to figure out why this happens.

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Task Overview (.PDF – 430KB)
Student Version (.DOC – 3MB)
Teacher Guide (.PPT – 1MB)

Tennessee Academic Standards for Science and Next Generation Science Standards Learning Targets

Tennessee Academic Standards for Science

  • 8PS4.2: Compare and contrast mechanical waves and electromagnetic waves based on refraction, reflection, transmission, absorption, and their behavior through a vacuum and/or various media.
  • 8PS4.3: Evaluate the role that waves play in different communication systems.

Next Generation Science Standards

  • Science and Engineering Practices
    Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions

    • Middle School Element: Apply scientific ideas, principles, and/or evidence to construct, revise and/or use an explanation for real-world phenomena, examples, or events.
  • Disciplinary Core Ideas
    PS4.B: Electromagnetic Radiation

    • Middle School Element: When light shines on an object, it is reflected, absorbed, or transmitted through the object, depending on the object’s material and the frequency (color) of the light.

    PS4.C: Information Technologies and Instrumentation

    • Middle School Element: Digitized signals (sent as wave pulses) are a more reliable way to encode and transmit information.
  • Crosscutting Concepts
    Systems and System Models

    • Middle School Element: Systems may interact with other systems; they may have sub-systems and be a part of larger complex systems.
    • Middle School Element: Models can be used to represent systems and their interactions—such as inputs, processes and outputs—and energy, matter, and information flows within systems.
    • Grade 3-5 Element: A system can be described in terms of its components and their interactions.
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The Tennessee District Science Network was funded by Arconic Foundation.

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