This is an assignment designed to reinforce and understanding of nuclear physics and chemistry, in particular, mass-energy equivalence: determining mass defect, binding energy and binding energy per nucleon. Students can complete the assignment by hand, but this assignment is more suited for students to practice using spreadsheet software like Excel.
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• determine the mass defect, binding energy and binding energy per nucleon for 14 atoms
• graph the atomic number vs. binding energy per nucleon
• interpret this graph to determine the most stable element
• write a scientific paragraph
• relate the results of the graphing portion to astronomy: why do many planets have solid iron cores
In the zipped folder:
• student assignment with tips for using excel (PDF and editable
• assessment rubric (PDF and editable
• FULL solutions (PDF file and EXCEL file)
• 2 template files for your students – if you choose to share them (EXCEL files)
I would recommend providing at least a week for your students to complete this assignment, since it will most likely be done at home/library/computer lab. Students can very quickly perform calculations using excel (or other spreadsheet software like Google Sheets). The calculations will take a long time to do if done by hand. Working with Excel is one of the non-curriculum requirements I like to teach my students before they go off to university or college.
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Check out other exciting resources in the Nuclear Energy Enriched Bundle!
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Mrs. Brosseau’s Binder
This resource aligns with the Ontario’s Secondary Science Curriculum: Energy Unit in Grade 11 University Physics SPH3U.
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