Nuclear Change

Unit 3 Overview

In the Nuclear Change unit, students will learn about nuclear change through examining the phenomena of radon. Three questions that students will answer at the end of the unit are:  is air we breathe in buildings radioactive and what is Radon and how does it affect health? First, student will investigate what is radon. Next, students will build a atom to learn how atoms can exist in stable and unstable isotopes. Students learn about types of radiation and then complete an inquiry about half-life of atoms. Half lifes can be used to map geology and assess danger timelines. Next, students learn how nuclear change occurs through fusion or fission. Additionally, students learn that the high energy released has military/commercial uses, and the legacy of cosmic, geologic and human events and activities has impacted where radioactivity exists on the earth. Students end the unit with a cumulative Socratic seminar about Hanford while assessing risk and benefits of using nuclear reactions and recovering sites contaminated by radioactive materials is complex. At the end of the unit students discuss the following question: should parts of the Hanford Nuclear Reservation be opened as a recreation area or returned to Native Americans?

For an overview of the learning targets, essential questions, and other information, please see this document.


Day by Day

Day 1 - Radon Investigation

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 -  Hanford Socratic Seminar