Lesson Plan: Radioactive Decay Chains Physics • 9th Grade

This lesson plan includes the objectives, prerequisites, and exclusions of the lesson teaching students how to determine the products of radioactive decay chains and identify the type of radioactive decay from the decay products.


Students will be able to

  • identify decay processes from nuclear ball diagrams involving one or more decays,
  • identify the reactants and products from nuclear ball diagrams involving one or more decays,
  • recall the approximate masses of alpha, beta, and gamma particles,
  • complete and write nuclear equations for decay-chain processes.


Students should already be familiar with

  • alpha decay,
  • beta decay,
  • gamma decay,
  • neutron decay,
  • nuclear equations,
  • nuclear ball diagrams.


Students will not cover

  • cluster decay,
  • half-life,
  • calculations of decay rate,
  • the dangers of radiation,
  • medical or industrial applications of radiation.

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