Just an Average Atom – Grade 12

Ohio Standards Connection: Physical Sciences Benchmark B Recognize that some atomic nuclei are unstable and will spontaneously break down. Indicator 10 Explain the characteristics of isotopes. The nuclei of radioactive isotopes are unstable and will spontaneously decay emitting particles and/or wavelike radiation. It cannot be predicted exactly when, if ever, an unstable nucleus will decay, but a large group of identical nuclei decay at a predictable rate.

Lesson Summary: Students will be given an overview of isotopes and the concept of determining atomic mass. Models will be used to discover weighted averages of atomic masses and radioactive isotope emissions. Students will then investigate a real world application by researching one radioisotope used in medical treatment and/or diagnosis and incorporating this information into a class-generated newsletter. Estimated Duration: Two hours

Commentary: This lesson will provide students with hands-on opportunities to see how relative atomic masses are derived while reinforcing prior knowledge of atomic structure. To provide a real-world connection and to extend their understanding of the behavior of radioisotopes, students will investigate their use and value in treating and diagnosing various medical conditions. This lesson was field tested by teachers across the state of Ohio. Some of the teacher comments about this lesson were: • “I think it increased their (student) understanding of how relative atomic masses are derived and helped reinforce certain portions of atomic structure.” • “…. weighted averages can be difficult to teach – good examples!” • “I like the rigor and accuracy – excellent for the benchmark and indicator for which it is written.”

Pre-Assessment: Have students complete Attachment A, Pre-Assessment to check for understanding. Scoring Guidelines: Use Attachment B, Pre-Assessment Key to assess student work. Use the results of the pre-assessment to determine how much review is necessary. 1

Just an Average Atom – Grade 12
Post-Assessment: Distribute copies of Attachment C, Post-Assessment, to students for directions for the newsletter article on the use of radioisotopes in the medical field. Instructional Tip: The emphasis of this post-assessment should be on the chemical properties of radioisotopes and their decay rates. The medical context helps students understand the practical application. Scoring of the newsletter article should ensure that students understand the properties of radioisotopes. Scoring Guidelines: See Attachment C, Post-Assessment Scoring Guidelines, to assess student work. Instructional Procedures: Part 1: Modeling Isotopic Mixtures of Elements 1. Review, as needed, the concept of isotopes. 2. To introduce the topic of weighted averages, have students work through the Example of in Attachment E, Weighted Average found. 3. Conduct a whole-class discussion about weighted grade point averages. Help students understand that the average is affected when one component is “heavier” (counts more) than other components. 4. Build on the grade point average (GPA) example to help students understand that atomic masses for elements are weighted averages of the masses of the isotopes of the element. The average mass depends on both the masses of each isotope and the relative proportions of each that occur naturally. 5. Use “isotopic” pennies, beans or candies such as jelly beans to represent isotopic mixtures. 6. Provide the student groups with mixtures of pennies (both pre-1982 and post-1982), candies or beans that are stored in plastic containers or plastic sandwich bags. Have students use Attachment D, Modeling Isotopes to calculate the average mass of the particles. This calculation is analogous to determining the atomic mass. Instructional Tip: • Pre-1982 and post-1982 pennies have different metallic composition and therefore have different masses. • Jelly beans and lima beans come in assorted sizes. • Modeling of metals can also be done using different sized nails. 7. Conduct a whole-class discussion to make sure students make the connection between the analogy (pennies representing isotopes) and atomic masses. Include the following questions in the discussion:


Just an Average Atom – Grade 12
• In what ways was your “isotopic mixture” a good analogy or model for actual isotopes? (Answer: The individual units of the mixture were the same substance (all beans, pennies, nails, etc.), but the masses varied.) • In what ways is this analogy or model misleading or incorrect? (Answers will vary depending on the type of material used for the mixture. Isotopes have different masses because they have different numbers of neutrons in their nuclei. Beans have different masses because they have different sizes. Pennies have different masses because their compositions are different (made of different metals). It is not possible to visually sort isotopes.) • Name another common item that can serve as a model for isotopes? (Answers will vary but might include such things as seeds, candies or screws.) 8. Have the students determine the average atomic mass of an element by using the following data for copper. (Answer: 0 .69x63 + 0.31x65 = 63.6) • Cu-63 (69%) • Cu-65 (31%) Part Two: Modeling Radioactive Emissions 9. Discuss with students the concept of radioisotopes. Include in the discussion the following questions: • What are radioactive isotopes (radioisotopes)? (Answer: Isotopes that have too many or too few neutrons, relative to the number of proton, for stability. The unstable nucleus undergoes radioactive decay to achieve greater stability.) • Why do things become less radioactive as time goes by? (Answer: Through radioactive decay, the isotopes become stable.) • What eventually happens to unstable radioisotopes? (Answer: They are eventually transformed into stable non-radioactive isotopes of a different element.) • Name one radioactive detection instrument. (Answer: Geiger Counter) 10. To simulate the decay of radioactive isotopes, have available to the students packing peanuts and two by four inch paper strips, which will be used to model the difference in mass, penetration and speed of emitted particles. Point out that different types of particles are associated with different amounts of energy. 11. Have the students write the symbols for two protons and two neutrons on the packing peanut. Ask the students to identify this arrangement (a helium atom). Tell them that this represents an alpha particle. Ask the students to throw the packing peanuts onto the lab table and comment on the impact of the collision. Point out that alpha particles are relatively slow-moving and cannot penetrate skin. 12. Have students draw a large circle on the left end of the paper strip and label it as a neutron. Tell students to draw an arrow from the circle to the right side of the paper and draw a tiny circle at the tip of the arrow. Have them label the tiny circle as a beta particle (an electron). In the large circle show that the neutron has changed into a proton by having the students cross out the word neutron and replacing it with the word proton.


Just an Average Atom – Grade 12
13. Ask the students to tear off the end of paper that has the tiny circle and crumple it. Tell them to throw it onto the lab table and comment on the impact of the collision. This represents the release of a beta particle (a fast-moving electron) with a proton left behind (because the neutron changed into a proton). Point out that the beta particles emitted have a much higher energy and can penetrate the skin. 14. Explain to the students that just as they still have energy after throwing the objects, a nucleus can still contain excess energy after emitting an alpha or beta particle. Explain that this energy can be released as highly energetic gamma rays (electromagnetic energy that is similar to light, but with much more energy). Explain that gamma rays can travel much longer distances and can easily penetrate some objects, including human bodies, unlike alpha (packing peanuts) or beta (crumpled paper) radiation. Instructional Tip: If possible, demonstrate the penetrating ability of alpha, beta and gamma radiation, using a Geiger counter, radioactive disks and barriers of paper, cardboard, glass and lead. The disks, which can be bought from most scientific supply companies, provide a safe way to demonstrate radioactivity in the classroom. Differentiated Instructional Support: Instruction is differentiated according to learner needs to help all learners either meet the intent of the specified indicator(s) or, if the indicator is already met, to advance beyond the specified indicator(s). • Provide students the opportunity to work together in cooperative groups. • Provide students the materials to construct models of the nuclei of isotopes such as C-12 and C-13 to help them distinguish between protons and neutrons. • Provide students with examples of how “weighted averages” are applied in real-life situations. • Provide students with a list of various comparisons of isotopic mixtures to develop understanding. • Provide interested students the opportunity to research the use of radioimmunoassays (RIAs) for the treatment of disease in its early stages. Extensions: • Have students design a “how it works” poster to summarize how a Geiger counter works. • Have students explore the use of radioactive isotopes for dating the authenticity of paintings and/or artifacts. Homework Options and Home Connections: Have students query family members and friends about their knowledge or experience with devices that use radioisotopes such as the MRI or CAT Scans for imaging internal organs, then generate a report of their findings.


Just an Average Atom – Grade 12
Materials and Resources: The inclusion of a specific resource in any lesson formulated by the Ohio Department of Education should not be interpreted as an endorsement of that particular resource, or any of its contents, by the Ohio Department of Education. The Ohio Department of Education does not endorse any particular resource. The Web addresses listed are for a given site’s main page, therefore, it may be necessary to search within that site to find the specific information required for a given lesson. Please note that information published on the Internet changes over time, therefore the links provided may no longer contain the specific information related to a given lesson. Teachers are advised to preview all sites before using them with students. For the teacher: Pennies (pre-1982 and post-1982), beans, or candies, Geiger counter, radioactive disks, sheets of cardboard, glass and lead. Calculator, radioisotope “mixtures”, balance, packing peanuts, two by four inch sheets of paper.

For the students:

Vocabulary: • atomic mass • atomic number • isotope • mass number • radioisotope • radioactive dose • relative abundance • Geiger Counter Technology Connections: Use the Internet to access Web sites for the Post-Assessment. One possible site is the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, www.nrc.gov. Research Connections: Marzano, R., Pickering, D., Pollock, J. Classroom Instruction that Works: Research-Based Strategies for Increasing Student Achievement, Alexandria, Va.,: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. 2001 Identifying similarities and differences enhances students’ understanding of and ability to use knowledge. This process includes comparing, classifying, creating metaphors and creating analogies and may involve the following: • Presenting students with explicit guidance in identifying similarities and differences; • Asking students to independently identify similarities and differences; • Representing similarities and differences in graphic or symbolic form.


Just an Average Atom – Grade 12
Nonlinguistic representations help students think about and recall knowledge. This includes the following: • Creating graphic representations (organizers); • Making physical models; • Generating mental pictures; • Drawing pictures and pictographs; • Engaging in kinesthetic activity. General Tips: • The word “isotope” comes from the Greek. It was coined in 1910. “Iso” means the same or equal and “topos” means place. Isotopes are therefore atoms of the same element (same position on the Periodic Table) that have different masses. • Isotopes are common to all elements but some don’t occur in nature. Elements found in nature are a mixture of isotopes. All isotopes of an element behave virtually in the same way chemically, because the number of protons and electrons remains the same. Isotopes, therefore, have no effect on bonding. A mass spectrometer is an instrument that determines masses and relative abundances of isotopes. • Some elements on the Periodic Table are radioactive and the nuclear decay is so rapid that the atomic masses can’t be accurately measured. Attachments: Attachment A, Pre-Assessment Attachment B, Pre-Assessment Key Attachment C, Post-Assessment Attachment D, Modeling Isotopes Attachment E, Example of Weighted Averages


Just an Average Atom – Grade 12
Attachment A Pre-Assessment Name __________________ Date ___________________ 1. Use the Periodic Table to complete the following data table: Isotope Hydrogen-2 Lithium-7 Oxygen-16 Oxygen-17 Oxygen-18 Potassium-39 Potassium-41 Rubidium-87 Platinum-190 Thorium-232 *Number of nuclear particles (protons plus neutrons) Atomic Number Total Protons Total Neutrons Mass Number* Symbol

2. Distinguish between the atomic number and the mass number. 3. What is an isotope? 4. What is the difference between an isotope and a radioisotope? 5. Identify examples of isotopes that are radioactive.


Just an Average Atom – Grade 12
Attachment B Pre-Assessment Key 1. Isotope Hydrogen-2 Lithium-7 Oxygen-16 Oxygen-17 Oxygen-18 Potassium-39 Potassium-41 Rubidium-87 Platinum-190 Thorium-232 Atomic Number 1 3 8 8 8 19 19 37 78 90 Total Protons 1 3 8 8 8 19 19 37 78 90 Total Neutrons 1 4 8 9 10 20 22 50 112 142 Mass Number* 2 7 16 17 18 39 41 87 190 232 Symbol H-2 Li-7 O-16 O-17 O-18 K-39 K-41 Rb-87 Pt-190 Th-232

*Number of nuclear particles (protons plus neutrons) 2. The atomic number is the number of protons in an atom. The mass number is the sum of the protons and neutrons in an atom. Electron mass is so small that it is not considered. 3. An isotope is two or more atoms of a chemical element with the same atomic number and nearly identical chemical behavior, but with differing mass numbers and different physical properties. 4. A radioisotope is an unstable isotope that emits radiation spontaneously. Point out that not all isotopes are radioactive and undergo decay. For example, there are three isotopes of oxygen, O-16, O-17 with one extra neutron and O-18 with two extra neutrons, and none are radioactive nor undergo decay. 5. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following: 3H, 14C, 32P, 35 S, 123 67 I, Ga

Cu, 99mTc,


Just an Average Atom – Grade 12
Attachment C Post-Assessment Radioisotopes have provided many benefits in the medical field. Your assignment is to research one of the different types of medical treatments or diagnostic procedures that use radioisotopes. Focus on either a disease or a diagnostic procedure to write an article for the class newsletter titled “Radioisotope News.” 1. Identify a disease or condition benefited by radioisotopes. 2. Identify the radioisotope used and its chemical properties. 3. Trace the history of the treatment or diagnostic procedure. 4. Describe recent developments and updates of the treatments or diagnostic procedures. 5. Include statistics about success rates or benefits. 6. Submit a one-page article for the class-generated newsletter. Post-Assessment Scoring Guidelines Your work will be assessed with the guidelines outlined in the chart below.
Parameter Level 4 Scientific information Depth of about medical treatments Understanding and diagnostic procedure using radioisotopes is accurate, and thoughtfully explained. Level 3 Scientific information about medical treatments and diagnostic procedure using radioisotopes is accurate. Level 2 Scientific information about medical treatments and diagnostic procedure using radioisotopes has occasional inaccuracies or is simplified. Scientific information about medical treatments and diagnostic procedure using radioisotopes has some clarity. Presentation of content has some focus and organization using a variety of sources. Applications to societal issues are suggested or implied. Statistics about success rate or benefits are suggested. Level 1 Scientific information about medical treatments and diagnostic procedure using radioisotopes has major inaccuracies or is overly simplified. Scientific information about introduction of medical treatments and diagnostic procedure using radioisotopes is unclear. Presentation of content lacks focus and organization using a variety of sources. Applications are unclear or absent. Statistics about success rate or benefits are unclear or not mentioned.

Written Communication

Relevance to Society

Scientific information about medical treatments and diagnostic procedure using radioisotopes is communicated clearly and precisely but may also include inventive/expressive dimensions. Presentation of content is effectively focused and organized using a variety of sources. Relevant applications to societal issues are identified and thoughtfully described. Statistics about success rate or benefits are discussed and analyzed, and impact is evaluated.

Scientific information about medical treatments and diagnostic procedure using radioisotopes is communicated clearly. Presentation of content is focused and organized using a variety of sources. Applications to societal issues are identified. Statistics about success rate or benefits are discussed, and impact is mentioned.

Adapted from Council of Chief State School Officers State Collaborative on Assessment and Student Standards (SCASS) Science Project, April 1997.


Just an Average Atom – Grade 12
Attachment D Modeling Isotopes 1. Separate the items into two groups (two isotopes) by size, or pre-1982 or post-1982 pennies. These groupings will now be referred to as Isotope #1 and Isotope #2. 2. Assign a name to your item (isotope), such as Pennium, Beanium or Jellium. ________________ Isotope #1 3. Total number of items per group 4. Mass of each group 5. Average mass (Mass /Total number of items) Isotope #2 Total #1 + #2

_________ _________ ___________ _________g _________g ___________g _________g _________g ___________g

6. Compare the average masses. a. Explain why the average masses of the two isotopes are different. b. Explain the relationship between the total average mass and the average masses of the two isotopes. c. Predict the effect on the total average mass of changing the number of items of isotope # 2. Isotope #1 Isotope #2 6. Percent abundance (parts per 100) _________% _________% (Total number of items in each group/Total #1 + #2 times 100) Relative abundance (parts per 1) (Divide percent abundance by 100) Relative mass (Multiply relative abundance by average mass) The average mass of the two isotopes is (Add both relative masses.) 10. Compare the average masses of the two isotopes calculated in step nine with the total average mass calculated in step five. Explain the relationship. 10 _________ _________



_________g _________g



Just an Average Atom – Grade 12
Appendix E Example of Weighted Average 1. Consider the grades that were earned by two students. Bill’s Grades: Course A.P. Biology Algebra II English IV French IV Business Tech Total Bob’s Grades: Course A.P. Biology Algebra II English IV French IV Business Tech Total Credit 2 1 1 1 1 6 Grade C B B B A Points 2 3 3 3 4 15 Weighted Points 2x2=4 1x3=3 1x3=3 1x3=3 1x4=4 17 Credit 2 1 1 1 1 6 Grade A B B B C Points 4 3 3 3 2 15 Weighted Points 2x4=8 1x3=3 1x3=3 1x3=3 1x2=2 19

2. Calculate the Grade Point Average (GPA) for each student using the total points earned and the number of classes they took.

3. Calculate the Grade Point Average (GPA) for each student using the total weighted points earned and the number of credits earned.

4. Explain the similarities and differences in the above calculations. What is the effect on the GPA of weighting the grades?

Answers: 2. For both students the GPA is 3.00 (15/5). 3. For Bill the GPA is 3.17 (19/6) and for Bob the GPA is 2.83 (17/6). 4. The students both have the same unweighted GPAs because they both have one A, one C and three B’s. Bill’s weighted GPA is higher than Bob’s because he made an A in the class that was weighted (counted as two credits). 11