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Ban Wi-Fi?

  • GCSE
  • Popular Activity
  • Topical

Type: Activity
Learning Strategy: Case study
Topic: Electromagnetic radiation

Wi-Fi is everywhere. A recent TV programme found the Wi-Fi radiation intensity in one classroom to be three times that from a mobile phone mast. Some people claim the radiation makes them ill, or that it has long-term health risks. In this activity students evaluate the validity of the TV experiment and the quality of other evidence about the health impacts of Wi-Fi.

14-16 How Science Works:
How science works
Practical and enquiry skills
2d Evaluate methods of collection of data and consider their validity and reliability as evidence.

Published: 6th June 2007
Reviews & Comments: 17

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Learning objectives

Students will:
• Evaluate the validity of data from a TV experiment on Wi-Fi
• Evaluate evidence on the health risks of Wi-Fi
• Communicate their findings

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Energy, electricity and radiations
7c Radiations, including ionizing radiations, can transfer energy.
7d Radiations in the form of waves can be used for communication.

Please see downloadable teachers notes for details of individual GCSE specifications

Running the activity

Display page 1, which is a sensationalised introduction to the issue. Tell students that the activity will guide them to finding answers to the questions posed.

Display and discuss page 2, which explains the science of Wi-Fi. Emphasise that Wi-Fi radiation is very similar to mobile phone and satellite TV radiation.

Next give each small group a set of cards cut from page 3 and a copy of page 4. Tell them to distribute the cards within their groups. Each group then does the tasks on page 4. There is no one 'right answer' to this task. One suggested outcome is card A – box 1 Yes, B-1Y, C-1Y, D– 4N, E– 4N, F-3N, G-aim, H-aim, I-3YorN, J-3N, K-3N, L-conclusion, M-1Y and 2Y, N-irrelevant, O-1N

Then display page 5, which sets the final tasks of the activity. Each group needs a set of cards cut from page 6 to complete these tasks. Again, there is no one 'right answer' – students will need to use their judgement to assign the cards sensibly.

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?

Ban Wi-FI

Nov 30th, 2010

4 Star

Used with a set 2 scienc class to good effect. Instead of the written report, as a plenary I asked the students to decide whetehr they though Wi-Fi was a potential health problem or not and to select the best evidence to suport their decision. They then had to stand on different sides of the room and offere their evidence to the rest of the class.

Reviewer: Danielle Pacey

Video for this activity

Sep 29th, 2010

5 Star

Here is the youtube video for this

Reviewer: toni brodie

How science works- ISAs

Jul 1st, 2010

5 Star

I like using this activity with the more able groups to get them to think about the key terms & reliability of data as part of the skills required for the AQA ISA assessments.
Also used this as part of an observed lesson & got a great feedback- the Deputy head pinched it off me for his lessons!

Reviewer: Jo Davison

Case study preparation - Twenty first century science

Jun 20th, 2009

5 Star

Very good resource for higher attainers can be differetiated by simplifying the cards. Led to a good discussion about reliability of evidence.


OCR 21st century science Radiation and Life

Apr 19th, 2009

4 Star

very good with high ability class.
Keeps pupils engaged

Reviewer: Sibongile Ngochi


Dec 9th, 2008

5 Star

Students really engaged with the activity which was particularly relevant as we were sat in a wi-fi enabled classroom while doing the activity.

Reviewer: Stan Pyle

Ban Wi-Fi? review

Sep 8th, 2008

5 Star

Really good activity.

Class prefered the two card sorts and not the writing task to the schools minister. They found his name hilarious though, so I suppose they will remember the lesson!

Reviewer: Kelly Draper

Physics AQA

Jun 10th, 2008

3 Star

I tried this out with one of my year 10 classes. They found it rather difficult in that they had a lot of reading to do.
Next time, I will try this with a higher ability group and see what happens.

Reviewer: Emma-Jane Bradbury

Ban Wi-Fi

Jun 9th, 2008

5 Star

Very good resource that stimulates interest in a current issue

Reviewer: Paddy Conlon

Ban Wi-Fi? review

May 21st, 2008

5 Star

Great with a top Y10 but problems found with those not so able. Some interesting comments made

Reviewer: Julie Brough

Ban Wi-Fi?

Jan 18th, 2008

5 Star

This is an excellent resource. I used it with my top set y10 with the focus on "who do you believe?" and "How scientists work".
I was able to access clips from the Panorama broadcast via Y**t*be to enhance my lesson and the students found the whole thing hugely engaging.

Reviewer: Michael Proudman


Dec 12th, 2007

5 Star

Excellent resource. It was tried with a group of Year 10 students. It promoted lively discussion about what is 'safe' evidence that could be used to draw conclusions.
The card activities suited the learning styles of the students.

Reviewer: maureen Gordon

Wi Fi

Sep 11th, 2007

5 Star

Used this lesson over 3 lessons with a group of year 10 BESD boys as an introduction to science in the news coursework. They were very interested and spent time evaluating the evidence quite thoughtfully. They are finishing the work by writing a report on their findings. First time I've done 3 non-practical lessons in a row but I've not had a single complaint!

Reviewer: Adele Neil

Wi-Fi Resource

Jun 15th, 2007

4 Star

We are using this with our Year 9 students as an introduction to their science in the news work. It appears to be working well to make them actually consider quality of evidence.

Reviewer: Duncan Somers

Wi Fi Resource

Jun 15th, 2007

5 Star

This is great, not only can we use this for KS3, but I also utilised the BBC resources for the P3 unit too. Good case study support material.
Thanks again UPD8!

Reviewer: Kerray Rawlinson

Alternative unit

Jun 14th, 2007

4 Star

Excellent activity. Very good in P2 "Radiation & life" and for promoting discussion of ALARA principle for "Ideas & evidence".

Reviewer: n baker


Jun 13th, 2007

3 Star

very good sheets on WI FI and made brilliant 'current science affairs' poster. Activity worked OK.

Reviewer: James Mitchell