Nuclear Fission and Fusion Reactions Cornell Doodle Notes Distance Learning

Sunrise Science
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These Nuclear Reactions Fusion and Fission scaffolded Cornell Doodle Notes combine two effective note-taking strategies and can be used to introduce the concept of the nuclear reactions of fusion and fission. NGSS HS-PS1-8 (Develop models to illustrate the changes in the composition of the nucleus of the atom and the energy released during the processes of fission, fusion, and radioactive decay.) They seek to answer the Essential Question of How is energy unleashed from atoms? They review what an isotope is, give a visual of a fusion reaction and explain where and how fusion takes place, give a visual of a fission reaction and explain where and how fission takes place, include a short video demonstration with dominoes that explains how the fission reactions in nuclear power plants and atomic bombs are different, provide visuals for the concept of mass defect, and explain how Einstein's E=mc2 equation relates mass defect to the energy released from atoms during nuclear reactions.

Cornell Notes are a note-taking strategy in which topic questions are written in a narrow left-hand column and definitions, explanations, and diagrams are filled in in the right-hand column.

Doodle Notes (or Sketch Notes) are another note-taking strategy for which pictures and graphics activate the visual pathways of the brain, which helps with retention of information when compared to standard note-taking. Your visual learners will really benefit from seeing and coloring in the pictures aside the main points of the notes!

I created a Powerpoint that goes with these notes. The Powerpoint walks the students through the lesson from the Essential Question and through all of the Topic Questions. There is a Quick Watch video that is an excellent demonstration of how the fission reactions in a nuclear power plant and an atomic bomb are different. The students will complete a chart while watching the demonstration. There is a “Sum It Up” section at the end of the notes, for which students practice identifying examples as fusion or fission.

The Cornell Doodle Notes are 3-pages and there are 3 scaffolded versions plus the answer key included.

The Powerpoint is included and there are also directions for accessing the presentation via Google Drive (Google Slides). This is obviously optional depending on how you choose to use this in your classroom.

Learn how to separate the differentiated versions of these notes in your Google Drive and how to assign them digitally using Google Classroom by downloading THIS FREEBIE!

Here are some ways that I suggest using this product:

✎ Whole-Group lesson with scaffolding : decide which students should receive which level of the notes. Hand out the notes to the students. Use the Powerpoint as a presentation and talk aloud through the lesson while the students take notes. Allow them to color/doodle further after each section and at the end of the lesson. {If you have a document camera (an ELMO), you can fill out your own notes and the students can follow along with you.}

✎ Scaffolded Small-Group lesson : separate your students into groups by learning level. Give each student group sets of the appropriate notes for their level. Make sure each group has a device to view the presentation. Post the Powerpoint or Google Slides to your Google Classroom or other online learning platform, or email the Powerpoint version to one ‘student leader’ in each group. The students would view the Powerpoint/Slides together on one device and fill in the notes. . Encourage them to add color/further notes.

✎ Individual Note-Taking or Flipped Classroom : Post the Powerpoint to your Google Classroom or other online learning platform or hand out the Google access directions to your students.. Hand out the appropriate-level notes to each student. Students can work at their own pace to view the presentation and complete their notes. Encourage them to add color/further notes.

Please note that this resource is not editable due to font and clip art licensing agreements.

Doodle notes is a trademarked term used with permission. Please visit for more information.

If you are teaching a unit on nuclear chemistry, you may also be interested in these resources:

Nuclear Chemistry Pros and Cons Through History Gallery Walk Activity

Nuclear Chemistry Class Blog Project

Lucky Leprechaun Half Life Problems Worksheet

Radioactive Decay Cornell Doodle Notes and Powerpoint

Thanks for looking!

Sunrise Science

Total Pages
30 pages
Answer Key
Teaching Duration
40 minutes
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