nuclear change

Unit 2 Overview

In this unit, students discuss social justice issues around nuclear power. Three questions students explore are:

  • Should we build a nuclear reactor in our town?

  • What happens during nuclear change?

  • What are the safety issues associated with nuclear change?

Students use a simulation to explore what makes an isotope stable or unstable. Students learn about different kinds of radiation that occur when unstable atoms decay. Next they will explore the half-life of atoms and how this is used to map geology and assess danger timelines. Students then learn how nuclear change occurs through fusion or fission. Additionally, students learn that the high energy released has military/commercial uses, the legacy of cosmic, geologic and human events, and how activities have impacted where radioactivity exists on the earth. Students end the unit with a cumulative Socratic seminar about the benefits and drawbacks of nuclear technology.

updated unit 2 daily activities

  • Day 1 - Flash debates about building a nuclear power plant

  • Day 2 - Build an atom phet

  • Day 3 - Types of radiation

  • Day 4 - Half life inquiry

  • Day 5 - Fission, fusion

  • Day 6 - Assessment (click here to request access to this folder. Please note you will need to verify that you are teacher who completed the summer course)

  • Day 7 & 8 - Nuclear technology Socratic seminar