I use these pages as supplemental work in my Conceptual Physics class along with chapter 39 of the Hewitt book.
Each page has a completed example with explanation.
1. Naming Isotopes – Students use a periodic table to do these 3 things:
* Determine the particles in the nucleus of a given isotope
Example: Uranium-238 has p=92 and n = 146
* Name the isotope given the particles in the nucleus
* Write the nuclear symbol for each isotope used in the two previous parts.(the nuclear symbol is the chemical symbol preceded by the mass number over the atomic number)
2. Alpha Decay – Students write nuclear equations for the alpha decay of 4 isotopes.The isotopes transmute into another element when an alpha particle (2p+ 2n) is ejected.
3. Beta Decay – Students write nuclear equations for the beta decay of 4 isotopes. The isotopes transmute into another element when a beta particle is ejected.
They are all beta-minus decay, not beta-plus.
A beta particle is an electron from the nucleus, not an orbital electron.
A neutron splits into a proton and an electron. Point out that charge is conserved.
The electron is ejected as a beta particle the additional protons stays in the nucleus.
4. Half-life Graphs - Given the half life and initial amount of a radioactive sample, students make a graph of radioactive material vs time.
These also align nicely with Next Generation Science Standards
Disciplinary Core Idea:
PS1.C: Nuclear Processes Nuclear processes, including fusion, fission, and radioactive decays of unstable nuclei, involve release or absorption of energy. The total number of neutrons plus protons does not change in any nuclear process.
Cross cutting Concept:
Energy and Matter : In nuclear processes, atoms are not conserved, but the total number of protons plus neutrons is conserved.