Science
Strand IV
Use Scientific Knowledge from the Physical Sciences in Real-World Contexts

 

Science/Strand IV
Content Standard 2
All students will investigate, describe, and analyze ways in which matter changes; describe how living things and human technology change matter and transform energy; explain how visible changes in matter are related to atoms and molecules; and how changes in matter are related to changes in energy. (Changes in Matter)

 

Science/Strand IV/Content Standard 2
High School

 

Science/Strand IV/Content Standard 2/High School
Benchmark 3
Contrast nuclear fission, nuclear fusion, and natural radioactivity.

Benchmark Clarification

Nuclear change occurs when the nucleus of one atom changes, resulting in an atom of a different element. When this occurs, highly energetic particles/radiation are given off.

In nuclear fission, the nucleus of heavy atoms split into lighter atoms. In nuclear fusion, the nucleus of light atoms fuse into heavier atoms.

Most elements have two or three isotopes. Some are stable, meaning the nucleus doesn’t change. Others are unstable, meaning the nucleus decays, resulting in one or more different elements. This type of decay is called natural radioactivity.

Students will:

  • Recognize that nuclear force holds the nucleus together

See Structure of the atom (SCI.IV.1.HS.3).

Key Concept / Real World Context / Instructional Example / Assessment Example / Resources

 

Science/Strand IV/Content Standard 2/High School/Benchmark 3
Key Concept

  • nucleus
  • nuclear change
  • force that holds nucleus together
  • nuclear energy
  • stable and unstable isotopes

Properties:

  • mass
  • element
  • radioactivity

 

Science/Strand IV/Content Standard 2/High School/Benchmark 3
Real World Context

  • nuclear power plants
  • nuclear energy from the Sun
  • natural radioactive decay
  • use of radiation and radioactive isotopes in medicine

 

Science/Strand IV/Content Standard 2/High School/Benchmark 3
Instructional Example

Benchmark Question: How does matter change?

Focus Question: How are nuclear fusion, nuclear fission, and radioactivity different?

Students will take notes from a teacher-led presentation of characteristics unique to nuclear fusion, nuclear fission, and radioactivity. Working in small groups, students will use their notes, text, and other resources such as library books and the internet to create a Venn diagram. The diagram will show how these three processes are similar as well as different. Students will draw diagrams to explain how one of the three processes occurs from beginning to end.

Students will share their diagrams with others in a small group. They will evaluate the accuracy of each diagram and present the most accurate diagram to the class.

As a follow-up, students will research the following scientists and place them into the proper sections of the Venn diagram based upon their contributions to key concepts in nuclear fusion, nuclear fission, and radioactivity: Lise Meitner, Albert Einstein, Enrico Fermi, Marie Curie, Chien Shiung Wu and Shirley Ann Jackson.

Constructing: (SCI.I.1.HS.4).

Reflecting: (SCI.II.1.HS.4), (SCI.II.1.HS.7).

 

Science/Strand IV/Content Standard 2/High School/Benchmark 3
Assessment Example

Students will write essays contrasting the three processes of nuclear fusion, nuclear fission, and natural radioactivity over time. In their essays, students will describe the contributions of each of the following scientists to our understanding of nuclear fusion, nuclear fission, and natural radioactivity: Lise Meitner, Albert Einstein, Enrico Fermi, Marie Curie, Chien Shiung Wu, and Shirley Ann Jackson.

(Give students rubric before activity.)

Scoring Rubric

Criteria

Apprentice

Basic

Meets

Exceeds

Accuracy of contrast

Fails to contrast any process.

Contrasts clearly one of the three processes.

Contrasts clearly two processes.

Contrasts clearly all three processes.

Accuracy of description

Clearly describes the contributions of one scientist.

Clearly describes the contributions of two scientists.

Clearly describes the contributions of three scientists.

Clearly describes the contributions of four or more scientists.

 

Science/Strand IV/Content Standard 2/High School/Benchmark 3
Resources

Webliography.
http://mtn.merit.edu/mcf/SCI.IV.2.HS.3.html

Nuclear fusion.
http://www.sasked.gov.sk.ca/docs/physics/u8c3phy.html

Nuclear reactions.
http://theory.uwinnipeg.ca/physics/nucl/node5.html