This unit focuses on isotopes, nuclear decay, fission, and fusion. Students learn how to identify different types of nuclear decay products and look at real-world applications of radioactivity.
Our host explains that nuclear chemistry is what happens in the nucleus of an atom. This segment also covers the nature of radioactivity and the release of energy as it occurs. The students perform an experiment with a cloud chamber and get to see vapor trails, which are evidence of nuclear decay.
This segment explains how nuclear fission creates new elements. Students also learn about the characteristics of the three particles that result from nuclear decay, alpha, beta, and gamma radiation, and the energy derived from nuclear fission.
Students review results from nuclear decay experiments and learn how the law of the conservation of matter applies to nuclear chemistry. Students also learn what a half-life is, how it can be used to determine the age of a fossil, and how to solve a half-life problem.
This segment explores why some atoms emit radioactive particles, while other do not. We also explore why some elements are radioactive. Our students learn about the immense power of nuclear fusion, which produces the energy from our sun and sustains life, and they participate in a lab activity demonstrating a model of fusion using marshmallows.
In the final segment of this unit, students choose assignments in nuclear chemistry that reflect their learning styles and interests. We also visit an isotope laboratory at Georgia Power to see real world scientists at work as they measure levels of radiation in the environment.
Students discover how solvents dissolve ionic and covalent solutes and learn how to measure solution concentration by mass percent, molarity, and molality. This unit also covers colligative properties.
Despite what you see in cartoons, not all park rangers say, “Hey, Boo-Boo!” Luckily, one of ours does. You’ll want to meet her, along with the other rangers who help maintain this beautiful state park located just outside of Savannah. Not only is it a great place to get away for a few days, it’s also a great place for Teachable Moments, as we go well over our quota on this barrier island!
Welcome to Physics in Motion – a new digital series for high school physics from Georgia Public Broadcasting!