Radioactive Simulations

9th - 12th

Students simulate radioactive decay and nuclear power using an on line interactive web site. In this on line lesson plan, students monitor radioactive isotopes and record the activity of a particular element as the decay progresses. They answer 4 questions about radiation levels, emission levels and the risk of exposure. Students play the role of a nuclear power plant operator trying to make the most power without letting the plant melt down.

Resource Details

Instructional Design
Inquiry-Based Learning

Nuclear Popcorn

Make your lesson on radioactive decay pop with this lab exercise. Using popcorn kernels spread over a tabletop, participants pick up all of those that point toward the back of the room, that is, those that represent decayed atoms. As the activity is repeated with remaining kernels, gathered data will illuminate the nature of half-life and decay rate.

Power Blackout Assessment

Pupils discuss the importance of power grids in power generation. In this physics lesson plan, students explain the impact of power failure. They investigate the power blackout in 2003 and discuss their findings.

Submarines and Aircraft Carriers: The Science of Nuclear Power

As physics masters view this presentation, they learn how nuclear power is used in submarines. They use Google Maps to plot a course through the ocean and calculate the time required for surfacing and traveling. They learn about fission, gamma rays, critical mass, and exponential decay. In a second session, they continue to explore radioactive decay and perform calculations using half life. The direct instruction is followed by an activity demonstrating half life using small candies. This is a neat lesson for physics, physical science, or STEM classes.

Nuclear Power

In this nuclear power worksheet, students read how atoms can be changes and are unstable. Students compare 3 kinds of radiation and the difference between fission and fusion. Then students complete 10 matching and 2 short answer questions.

Factors Affecting Plant Growth

Students determine the physical and chemical factors that affect plant growth. In this biology lesson, students explain the role of hormones in plants. They investigate how competition with other plants affect their growth.

How Power Plants Work 2

In this second of three lessons on power plants, future engineers find out how we generate electricity and how coal-powered plants operate. They work in small groups to make electromagnet generators to light LED bulbs. A set of PowerPoint slides supports the pre-activity and post-activity discussions.

Siting Wind Power

Student study how solar heating generates wind and how wind can be harnessed to be used to generate electricity. They analyze wind power curves and visit a wind generated power plant. Also, they watch a number of computer based videos showing how to place a wind plant.

Siting Wind Power

Students examine how wind is generated by the solar heating of the earth.  In this wind power lesson students analyze a wind power curve. 

Low-level Nuclear Waste: A Geographic Analysis

Students gain practice analyzing the problems surrounding nuclear waste. They compare and contrast low- and high-level nuclear waste, and make decisions concerning how to dispose of low-level nuclear waste.

The Price of Power

Explore the current political debate over regulating power plant emissions. Critical thinkers research, formulate, and present arguments regarding selective catalytic reduction systems for coal-burning plants.

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