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Teaching Nuclear Chemistry by Jane Smith

Teaching Nuclear Chemistry by Jane Smith

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Published by Paul Schumann
I have taught this unit in a variety of places in the curriculum including our discussion of the atom, before and after chemical reactions and equations and also at the end of the year. I believe this is a crucial unit for my students because they have so many misconceptions and don’t realize how much nuclear chemistry is a part of their daily lives.

I have taught this unit in a variety of places in the curriculum including our discussion of the atom, before and after chemical reactions and equations and also at the end of the year. I believe this is a crucial unit for my students because they have so many misconceptions and don’t realize how much nuclear chemistry is a part of their daily lives.

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Categories:Types, Research, Science
Published by: Paul Schumann on Oct 21, 2010
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11/02/2012

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Teaching Nuclear Chemistry
Objectives:including TEKS 6B, 9A, 9B, 9C, 9D, 11B, 11C
Students will be able to describe what background radiation is, where it comes from and their approximate annual exposure.
Students will be able to define radioactivity and relate nuclear stability to the neutron to proton ratio.
Students will be able to describe the properties of alpha, beta and gamma radiation.
Students will be able to write nuclear equations representing the decay or bombardment of nuclides.
Students will be able to write nuclear equations for a simple decay series.
Students will be able to apply the concept of half-life both graphically and in problems.
Students will be able to describe common uses of radioactive isotopes in medicine, industry, research,etc.
Students will be able to compare and contrast generating electricity from fossil fuels and uranium.
Students will be able to compare and contrast the processes of nuclear fission and fusion.
Students will be able to evaluate issues related to the storage, containment, and disposal of nuclear waste.
I have taught this unit in a variety of places in the curriculum including our discussion of the atom, before and after chemical reactions and equations and also at the end of the year.I believe this is a crucial unit for my students because they have so many misconceptionsand don’t realize how much nuclear chemistry is a part of their daily lives.We are on a 90-minute alternating block schedule and I like to spend at least 5 ½ days onthis unit.I have a video that I like to show when I have time. It is a 60-minute episode of Frontlineentitled “Nuclear Reaction” that you might be able to order through pbs/wgbh.
Jane Smith R.L. Turner High School Carrollton ACT2 Biennial Conference 2003
 
Approximate Lesson Plan (90 minute periods)
Class AgendaResources
Block One(30 min)
students complete the nuclear survey (turn on Geiger counter so students can’t see it)
spend a couple of minutes sharing responses -especially statements for which they put U
ask about background noise – lead into backgroundradiation
 pie chart of sources of background radiationHomework: complete personal radiation dosagePersonal radiation dosagechart from ans
Block Two(90 min)
define radioactivity and properties and symbols for 
α
 
β
 
γ 
(demonstrate or show video clips if  possible)
discuss the zone of stability and neutron to protonratio
illustrate decay/emission processes with nuclear equations
guided practice on Nuclear BalancingHomework: complete nuclear balancing: read intextbook and take notes on uses of radioisotopes10 min video “A Look atRadiation” from nscRadiation: Questions andAnswers brochure from nei Nuclear Wall Chart - order from Boreal
Block Three(90 min)
generate Top Ten Uses of radioisotopes list as class – answer questions students have – especially on thingslike tracers
Half-Life lab – follow up with debrief as a class
work a couple of half life problems as examplesHomework: complete half-life problemsHalf-Life Lab
Block Four(90 min)
check over half-life homework problems
discuss how electricity is generated with wind, water and coal
using a diagram, discuss how uranium is used togenerated electricity
have students compare and contrast fossil fuels vs.uranium as sources for electricityHomework: read and compare/contrast nuclear fissionvs. fusion brochures from nie:
How do nuclear power  plants work?
 Nuclear fuel – a littlegoes a long way
How do we keepnuclear power plantssafe?
High level, low leveland transportation of nuclear wasteanimation of nuclear power  plant from nei
Block Five(90 min)
discuss fission vs. fusion
focus on the issues surrounding nuclear waste
 paper and pencil assessment on nuclear basicsincluding revisiting survey from 1
st
day
write 3 questions for the Socratic Seminar graphics of nuclear wastedisposal and transportationfrom nei
Block Six(60 min)
Socratic Seminar (structured class discussion) over nuclear issuesSocratic Seminar instructions, scoring rubric
Jane Smith R.L. Turner High School Carrollton ACT2 Biennial Conference 2003
 
Nuclear Resources
American Nuclear Society
www.ans.org/pi/Brochures, stickers, and personal radiation dosage charts can be purchased through the ans store.However, visit the Outreach Department and you can request a single copy for FREE.Sign up to receive email notification of the next issue of Reactions or look at archived issues.Find out when nuclear teacher workshops will be held in your area.Also visit their education sitehttp://www.aboutnuclear.org/with its Nuclear Science and Technologyand How It Influences Your Life topics.
Nuclear Energy Institute
http://www.nei.org/Brochures and lots of information.Links to sites with graphics of nuclear power plants, nuclear waste cask tests, etc.Animations of nuclear power plants.
National Safety Council
http://www.nsc.org/ehc.htmRequest the FREE Understanding Radiation Kit by writing on school letterhead to:Understanding Radiation Kit National Safety Council’s Environmental Health Center 1025 Connecticut Ave. NW Suite 1200Washington, D.C. 20036or FAX (202)293-0032 or emailgooding@nsc.orgyour request.
U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
 http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/basic-ref/teachers.htmlLesson plans and classroom activities are ready for you!
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
 http://www.lbl.gov/abc/Their education site on the ABC’s of Nuclear Science includes lots of good information as well as anonline Teacher’s Guide to the Nuclear Science Wall Chart.To order the wall chart, contact Science Kit 1(800)828-7777 Nuclear Science Wall Chart poster WW71960-02$11.00 Nuclear Science Wall Large ChartWW70960-00$22.00Teachers Guide with TransparencyWW71960-04$20.00
Chart of Nuclides
http://www2.bnl.gov/ton/index.htmlThis site has a chart of nuclides that you can access and determine a specific nuclide’s half-life, use andtype of decay.
Jane Smith R.L. Turner High School Carrollton ACT2 Biennial Conference 2003

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