Lesson Plan: The Atomic Nucleus Chemistry

This lesson plan includes the objectives, prerequisites, and exclusions of the lesson teaching students how to describe the stability of the atomic nucleus through the strong force and through the ratio of protons to neutrons and calculate nuclear binding energy.


Students will be able to

  • explain how the nucleus of an atom is held together by the strong nuclear force,
  • describe the strong nuclear force and the important role neutrons play in its stability,
  • define and calculate the nuclear binding energy of an atom of an element,
  • explain the stability of a nucleus in relation to its ratio of proton to neutrons,
  • interpret the stability of an atom of an isotope from graphs showing the band of stability,
  • convert between mass and energy using 𝐸=𝑚𝑐 and between atomic mass units (u), kilograms (kg), and electron volts (eV).


Students should already be familiar with

  • the structure of the atom,
  • isotopes,
  • atomic numbers and mass numbers.


Students will not cover

  • radioactive decay or half-lives,
  • weak nuclear force.

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