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Type: Activity
Learning Strategy: Role play
Topic: Electromagnetic radiation

Over a hundred years ago, Tesla experimented with long-range wireless energy transfer, but his attempts failed when he ran out of money. Now scientists aim to succeed where Tesla failed. They plan to use resonance to transfer energy from the mains to electrical devices without wires. In this activity, students compete to get funding for 'Wireless' by planning and presenting pitches for sponsorship to wealthy entrepreneurs, as in the TV programme 'Dragons Den'.

14-16 How Science Works:
• 4a: the use of contemporary scientific and technological developments and their benefits, drawbacks and risks

Published: 25th November 2006
Reviews & Comments: 3

Learning objectives

Students will:
• Reinforce their knowledge of energy transfer by electromagnetic radiation
• Evaluate the benefits and risks of 'Wireless'
• Develop their thinking and communication skills by pitching 'Wireless' to potential sponsors

Try the activity

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14 – 16 How science works
• 4a: the use of contemporary scientific and technological developments and their benefits, drawbacks and risks

14 – 16 Energy, electricity and radiations

• 7b electrical power is readily transferred and controlled, and can be used in a range of different situations
• 7c radiations, including ionising radiations, can transfer energy


AQA Core Unit P1a, 13.2
AQA Core Unit P1b, 13.5
Edexel Core P1b 11.7 and 11.19
C21 Core P2.1.2 and P2.1.4
C21 Additional P6.1.1 and P6.3


Running the activity

Display page 1, which introduces the topic and outlines the task. Then display page 2, which presents the scientific background.

Then divide the class into small groups. All but one group needs a copy of page 3. This guides students in planning their presentations to a panel of judges (the 'dragons') for financial backing.

Give one group a copy of page 4. This guides in the 'dragons' in their task - planning questions and deciding which group to invest in. If they struggle to think of questions, these ideas might help:

• Will it be useful in places with unreliable electricity supplies?
• Is it energy efficient?
• How long will it take to develop?
• Why use a 6.4 MHz wave?
• Has anyone tried to develop wireless before?

You could also ask the dragons to prepare cards or a table on which to score the presenters' performance in key areas, for example: the quality of their science explanation; their identification of potential purchasers and the quality of their presentation.

Then get each group to present their pitch to the 'dragons'. The dragons will ask questions of each group. Finally, ask the dragons to decide who gets their money – and to tell the rest of the class why. To encourage all groups to listen carefully to the presentations, you might like them to score the other groups in key areas, too, and have a class vote on who they think the dragons should invest in.

To maximise learning in How science works, finish the task by getting students to briefly state the benefits, drawbacks and risks of wireless.

News links

BBC Dragons Den
Dragons' Den is a series where entrepreneurs pitch their ideas to secure investment finance from our dragons - elite business entrepreneurs.
BBC news
The news story: the tangle of cables and plugs needed to recharge today's electronic gadgets could soon be a thing of the past.
BBC news
Information about another wireless re-charging device – Splashpad.
You could soon be saying goodbye to having several different chargers for all your handheld gadgets like your mobile phone or MP3 player.
Background information on electromagnetic radiation for teachers and more able students.

Reviews & Comments

Write your online review to share your feedback and classroom tips with other teachers. How well does it work, how engaging is it, how did you use it, and how could it be improved?


Nov 1st, 2010

5 Star

was very helpful the pupils enjoyed it

Reviewer: Bola Akanho

Wireless review

May 21st, 2008

4 Star

provoked some interesting discussion with my more able group

Reviewer: Julie Brough


Jan 27th, 2007

4 Star

Used activity to stimulate applied science students - worked well

Reviewer: Tim Kilbey

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