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# Module: Inside the Atom/Its Radioactive

## Concept 2: Radioactive Decay, Half-Life, Applications

TIME FRAME: 7 days Concept Name y Its radioactive: radioactive decay, half-life, applications

PREREQUISITE KNOWLEDGE Mass Electric charge Atomic structure The periodic table Energy Waves Electromagnetic spectrum

## Knowledge and Skills

VSC CONTENT OBJECTIVE Expectation 5.5 The student will investigate certain topics in modern physics. Indicator 5.5.2 The student will qualitatively explain the processes associated with nuclear energy and its applications. VSC SKILLS AND PROCESSES Expectation 1.3 The student will carry out scientific investigations effectively and employ the instruments, systems of measurement, and materials of science appropriately. Expectation 1.5 The student will use appropriate methods for communicating in writing and orally the processes and results of scientific investigation. Expectation 1.7 The student will show that connections exist both within the various fields of science and among science and other disciplines including mathematics, social studies, language arts, fine arts, and technology. VOCABULARY BIG IDEA y Matter and energy Activity Alpha decay ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS Alpha particle y Why are some atoms unstable? Atom y How do unstable atoms decay? Atomic number y What is half-life? Beta decay y How do we measure radiation? Beta particle y What are the effects of radiation on living things? Carbon dating y How can we protect from radiation? Electromagnetic force y What do we use radiation for?

## Concept 2: Radioactive Decay, Half-Life, Applications

Electron Element Gamma decay Gama ray Half-life Isotope Mass number Neutron Nucleus Nucleon Periodic table PET scan Photon Positron Positron emission Probability Proton Strong nuclear force Weak force

## Concept 2: Radioactive Decay, Half-Life, Applications

Common Student Misconceptions y y y y y y y y y y Confuse atomic number (Z) and mass number (A). The mass number equals to the number of the neutrons. The number of protons and neutrons in the nucleus has to be equal. Isotopes cannot belong to the same element. Assume that the only isotopes that exist are the ones with mass numbers equal to the rounded atomic mass listed in the periodic table. We are not exposed to radiation in our daily lives (there is no background radiation). Any amount of radiation is harmful. Radiations cannot have useful purposes. Carbon dating can be used to date anything. Radioactive dating is 100% reliable.

## S ugges te d L ear n in g P lan

LEARNING ACTIVITIES AND STRATEGIES Activity CPO PHYSICS FIRST y Investigation 11B: Nuclear Reactions and Radioactivity Day 1 y Description Students simulate radioactive decay y y y y Materials 50 pennies Cup Graph paper CPO Atom building game

## Radiation Virtual lab Day 2

Introduce the three types of radioactivity using visual and audio aids (Radioactivity Power Point Presentation). Students engage in a virtual lab in which they measure the amount of radiation from three radiation sources (alpha, beta, and gamma) as they vary the distance between the source and the detector. Students work in groups of two and two pairs of students may split the work and combine their data. Students graph the data and display the graphs on the wall. They can use Microsoft Excel or paper and pencil to graph the data (depending on availability of technology Students infer information about the properties of radiation and compare the three sources.

## Radiation shielding Virtual lab Day 3

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Students engage in a virtual lab in which they measure the amount of radiation from three radiation sources (alpha, beta, and gamma) as they place different shields between the source and the detector. Students graph the data. Students infer information about how radiation penetrates and compare the three sources.

## Nuclear equations Day

Dirty bomb Day 2-5 (ongoing) Research project HOMELAND SECURITY CONNECTION

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## Applications of radioactivity Homework research project Day 2-5

Students apply the law of conservation of mass and electric charge to write nuclear equations involving alpha, beta, and gamma decay. Students determine the type of radiation that transmutes a given nucleus into another. Students determine what id the mothernucleus that underwent radioactive decay to produce given daughter-nucleus and radiation. Students watch a podcast introducing the topic of nuclear terrorism. The class is divided in 5 groups and each group selects a subtopic for research. Each group prepares a presentation on their subtopic. The presentation may be a podcast, a power point, a computergenerated poster, a paper poster, demonstration, or dramatization. Each group presents the project to the class (10 min) and responds to questions from the audience (5 min). Students research the peaceful applications of radioactivity and prepare a paper on a subtopic of their choice. The paper may be accompanied but not replaced by paper-poster, power point presentation, a podcasts, or show-and-tell.

## y Dirty bomb podcast

DIFFERENTIATION/ACCOMODATIONS y y Provide verbal directions for students who have reading skills bellow grade level. During group activities, you may want to assign the job of reading and rephrasing directions to a team member with more advanced reading skills. Provide vocabulary practice for students who have difficulties with the terminology used in this lesson.

## Concept 2: Radioactive Decay, Half-Life, Applications

R eso urce s CPO PHYSICS FIRST CPO PHYSICS FIRST y Investigation 11B: Nuclear Reactions and Radioactivity CPO PHYSICS FIRST Textbook Chapter 11.3: Nuclear Reactions, page 267 y Active Physics Active Physics: Predictions y y y y y y y y Other Resources Isotopes and Radioactivity interactive tutorial Alpha Decay simulation Radioactive Decay Series Radiation Lab download (free, registration required) Nuclear Science Berkley website Nuclear equations worksheet

Assessments

CONCEPT ASSESSMENT