Lesson Plan: Detecting and Blocking Different Types of Radiation Physics

This lesson plan includes the objectives, prerequisites, and exclusions of the lesson teaching students how to detect alpha, beta, and gamma radiation and identify materials that are effective at stopping different types of radiation.


Students will be able to

  • recall that a Geiger counter is a device that can be used to measure the level of radiation in an area,
  • recall that the number of radioactive decays per second is measured in becquerels (Bq),
  • recall that ionization is the process of an atom gaining or losing electrons,
  • recall what thicknesses of some common materials will block alpha, beta, and gamma radiation,
  • recall the approximate range of alpha, beta, and gamma radiation in air,
  • recall what materials are best for safely storing radioactive materials,
  • recall the relative electric charge of alpha, beta, and gamma radiation.


Students should already be familiar with

  • alpha, beta, and gamma radiation.


Students will not cover

  • the dangers of radiation,
  • calculating the radioactivity of a source,
  • calculation of the attenuation of radiation through a material,
  • any other type of radiation, such as neutron radiation or positron radiation,
  • any other type of decay process,
  • nuclear reactors,
  • nuclear waste policy.

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