Lesson Plan: Radioactivity Science

This lesson plan includes the objectives, prerequisites, and exclusions of the lesson teaching students how to describe the radiation produced by decaying atomic nuclei.


Students will be able to

  • recognise that the protons and neutrons in an atomic nucleus are bound by a force,
  • recognise that nuclei of atoms of some elements are unstable and can decay,
  • recognise that a decaying atomic nucleus releases particles or EM waves,
  • distinguish between alpha, beta, and gamma radiation nominally in terms of their compositions,
  • recognise that the decay of a particular atomic nucleus occurs spontaneously,
  • identify some naturally radioactive elements,
  • recognise nuclei with a higher proportion of neutrons are more likely to be able to decay,
  • recognise that a change in the number of neutrons in an atomic nucleus results in an atom changing to an atom of a different isotope.


Students should already be familiar with

  • the fact that most of the mass of an atom is due to the nucleus of the atom,
  • the fact that an atomic nucleus consists of protons and neutrons.


Students will not cover

  • quantitative comparisons between alpha, beta, and gamma radiation,
  • models of the statistical regularity of radioactive decay.

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