You are on page 1of 6

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?

Office of STEM Education

Grade 9 Physics First Curriculum Draft

Module: Inside the Atom/Its Radioactive

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

CONCEPTUAL UNDERSTANDING y Some atoms are unstable because there are too many protons, neutrons, or both in their nuclei and the strong nuclear force, which has a very short range, cannot hold the nucleons together. An unstable nucleus would eventually decay spontaneously through alpha or beta decay. Some nuclei are unstable because they have too much energy. They would undergo gamma decay. During radioactive decay, the charge, the atomic number, and the mass number are conserved. y During alpha decay, the unstable nucleus with atomic number Z and mass number A emits an alpha particle (helium nucleus) consisting of two protons and two neutrons. The original nucleus, called mother nucleus, would transmute into a daughter nucleus that has an atomic number Z-2 and a mass number A-4. y A nucleus that has too many neutrons would undergo beta decay. In this process, a neutron decays into a proton and an electron and the electron (called beta particle) is expelled from the nucleus with high speed. The number of protons in the daughter nucleus increases by a and its atomic number is Z+1 while the mass number remains the same (A). y A nucleus that has too many protons would undergo another type of beta decay called positron emission. In this process, a proton decays into a neutron and a positron. Positron is the antiparticle of the electron and has the same mass as the electron but opposite charge. The positrons are expelled from the nucleus at high speed. The atomic number of the daughter nucleus decreases by one (Z-1) and its mass number remains the same (A). y A nucleus that has too much energy would undergo gamma decay. In this process the nucleus emits the excess energy in the form of electromagnetic wave (photon). Its atomic and mass numbers remain unchanged. y Half-life is the time it takes for half of the amount of radioactive sample to decay. The half-life of a given isotope does not change and can be used to identify the isotope. The half-life may be a fraction of a second or thousands of years, depending on the isotope. y Activity of a radioactive sample -----y Radiation can be measured using a Geiger counter. This device ------. Radiation is measured in units called ------y Radiation has harmful effects on living organisms. Generally, particle radiation (alpha and beta) is less dangerous than electromagnetic radiation (gamma rays). The effects of radiation also depend on the amount absorbed by the organism. -----y The amount of radiation decreases as the distance to the source increases following an inverse square relationship. Therefore, staying far from a radiation source is one way to decrease the harmful effects of radiation.

Office of STEM Education

Grade 9 Physics First Curriculum Draft

Module: Inside the Atom/Its Radioactive

Concept 2: Radioactive Decay, Half-Life, Applications

Another way to protect from radiation is to use a shield. The effectiveness of the shield depends on the material of which it is made and its thickness. Shielding alpha radiation is easier because the alpha particles are relatively large and have low penetrating power. Beta radiation has greater penetrating power and requires thicker shields. Gamma radiation has extremely high penetrating power and it is very difficult to shield. Radioactivity has many useful applications. Alpha radiation is used in smoke detectors. Scientists often create radioactive substances in their labs for medical use. Positron emission is used in medical imaging (PET scan). Gamma radiation is used in cancer treatment. Radioactivity is also used in archaeology and forensic science to determine the age of artifacts. The isotope cabon-14 is used to date organic artifacts, more specifically, to determine the time of death of an organism. Radioactive dating involves measuring the activity of a sample and determining how much of the material has decayed. Using the half-life of the isotope, scientists can determine the time elapsed since the sample started to decay. The method depends on certain assumptions that are considered reasonable but are not proven.

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

Office of STEM Education

Grade 9 Physics First Curriculum Draft

Module: Inside the Atom/Its Radioactive

Concept 2: Radioactive Decay, Half-Life, Applications

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.

y Computers y Radiation Lab downloaded on each computer (or on CDs)

Radiation shielding Virtual lab Day 3

y y

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.

y Computers y Radiation Lab downloaded on each computer (or on CDs)

Office of STEM Education

Grade 9 Physics First Curriculum Draft

Module: Inside the Atom/Its Radioactive

Concept 2: Radioactive Decay, Half-Life, Applications

Nuclear equations Day

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

y y y

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 Periodic table y Nuclear equations worksheet

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.

Office of STEM Education

Grade 9 Physics First Curriculum Draft

Module: Inside the Atom/Its Radioactive

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

MULTIPLE CHOICE QUESTION BANK

OTHER WAYS TO ASSESS

Office of STEM Education

Grade 9 Physics First Curriculum Draft