Archive for April, 2013:

Irradiated Salt Demonstration

Materials:

  • Table salt (NaCl) that has been irradiated with at least 180,000 RADs of gamma radiation. (Keep in DARK container or protected from light until ready to perform demonstration.)
  • A frying pan or other flat-surfaced item on a hot plate
  • A dark room (the darker the better).

Background:

When the salt is irradiated, gamma rays pass through the crystals and the energy deposited there excites electrons and causes them to move to a higher energy state. Due to the nature of salt crystals, the electrons become trapped in that higher energy state. After being irradiated, the salt appears as a cinnamon color rather than white; that is because the repositioned electrons affect the way that light is reflected by the crystal.

Procedure:

Irradiated salt demonstration

Irradiated salt demonstration

Preheat a dry frying on a hot plate set at its highest temperature. OR, put the pan above a lab burner. Continue heating the pan. In a completely darkened room, sprinkle or pour some of the irradiated salt into the hot frying pan. Carefully observe what happens! Then, observe the salt which remains in the bottom of the frying pan after your experiment.

Explanation/Analysis:

You should see tiny flashes of light as the irradiated salt comes into contact with the frying pan surface. (You must be fairly close; the flashes are not bright.)

Heating the salt causes increased motion (vibration) in the salt crystal. This allows the electrons to return to their normal (somewhat lower) energy state. As the electrons move to lower energy states, the previously stored energy is released in the form photons of visible light. After the electrons return to normal energy states, the salt crystals reflect light as normally and appear white.

Optional:

Check the irradiated salt with a radiation monitor (Geiger counter) to see if it is radioactive. (Make sure you have a reading for background radiation, too.)

The salt was irradiated, but it is not radioactive. Readings from a radiation monitor should be the same as background.

Concepts you can teach:

  • Irradiation may change a material physically, but it does not make it radioactive.
  • Applying energy (gamma radiation) to a substance may move electrons to different energy states.
  • People who work in environments with radiation often wear a Thermoluminescent Dosimeter. Such dosimeters contain substances (often LiF crystals) that are sensitive to ionizing radiation. Filters are used in the badge to discriminate between alpha, beta, and gamma radiation. Periodically, the dosimeter is tested to determine how much radiation exposure the worker has received. (The flashes of light observed in our activity are a very crude representation of such a test.)

Helpful Tips:

If the irradiated salt is exposed to sunlight or artificial light, it will gradually lose its coloration and turn back to white. The light exposure causes some changes in the lattice, the electrons gradually return to their original energy states and the salt returns to its original white color. Be sure to keep it protected in a dark or opaque container.

Purchasing Irradiated Salt:

Penn State University, Breazeale Reactor, phone 814-865-6351

Other scientific supply companies may offer irradiated salt; check with your normal supply sources.

Frequently Asked Question: Is the irradiated salt safe to eat? The dose of radiation given to the salt was higher than FDA allows for this type of food; the laboratory where it was irradiated does not meet USDA/FDA standards for food handling. However, the salt is not radioactive – either before or after heating in the demo. The salt never releases ionizing radiation, only visible light.

Radiation Types : Modeling Radioactive & Stable Atoms

Description: With the Modeling Radioactive and Stable Atoms activity, students gain a better understanding of the differences between radioactive atoms and stable atoms. Students gain a better understanding of protons, neutrons, and electrons. Students are able to visualize what is meant by proton, neutron, and electron particles. By extension, this experiment is a useful analogy to radioactive decay. This experiment is best used by students working in groups. A zip-close plastic bag represents the nucleus of an atom. If the atom is stable, zip the bag closed. If atom is radioactive, bag is left open to emit ionizing radiation (alpha particles, beta particles and/or gamma rays).

 

Marshmallow-photo1

Grade Level
5-9

Disciplinary Core Ideas (DCI)
5-ESS3-1, 3-5 ETS1-1, MS-PS3-2, HS-PS1-8, HS-PS3-2, HS-PS4-1, HS-PS4-4, HS-PS4-5

Time for Teacher Preparation
30-60 minutes – To gather materials and set-up

Activity Time:
30-60 minutes (1 Class Period)

Materials

Safety

  • Students should not eat marshmallows
  • Students should not throw marshmallows at fellow students
  • Students should use care when handling toothpicks

 

Science and Engineering Practices (NGSS)

  • Ask questions and define problems
  • Plan and carry out investigation
  • Analyze and interpret data
  • Use mathematics and computational thinking
  • Construct explanations
  • Argue from evidence
  • Obtain, evaluate and communicate information

Cross Cutting Concepts (NGSS)

  • Patterns
  • Cause and Effect
  • Scale, Proportion, and Quantity
  • Energy and Matter: Flows, Cycles, and Conservation
  • Structure and Function
  • Stability and Change of Systems

Objectives

  • Define Atomic Number
  • Define Atomic Mass
  • Define Radiation
  • Define Radioactive Decay
  • Discuss the differences between radioactive and stable atoms

Background
An atom is made up of three subatomic particles — protons, neutrons and electrons. The center of an atom, called the nucleus, is composed of protons and neutrons. Protons are positively charged, neutrons have no charge at all and electrons are negatively charged. The proton-to-electron ratio is generally one to one, so the atom as a whole has a neutral charge. For example, a carbon atom has six protons and six electrons. Generally, if the proton to neutron ratio is larger than 1 to 1.5, the nuclear binding energy cannot hold the nucleus together and the nucleus will emit radiation and decay.

It’s not that simple though. An atom’s properties can change considerably based upon how many of each subatomic particles it has. If you change the number of protons, you wind up with a different element altogether. If you alter the number of neutrons in an atom, you wind up with an isotope. For example, carbon has three isotopes:

  • carbon-12 (six protons + six neutrons), a stable and commonly occurring form of the element,
  • carbon-13 (six protons + seven neutrons), which is stable but rare, and
  • carbon-14 (six protons + eight neutrons), which is rare and unstable (or radioactive).

As we see with carbon, some atomic nuclei are stable and some are unstable. Unstable nuclei spontaneously emit particles and waves that scientists refer to as radiation. A nucleus that emits radiation is, of course, radioactive, and the process of emitting radiation is known as radioactive decay. Three types of radioactive decay will be studied:

  • Alpha decay: A nucleus ejects two protons and two neutrons bound together, known as an alpha particle. The atomic number will decrease by 2, and the mass will decrease by 4.
  • Beta decay: A neutron becomes a proton, an electron and an antineutrino. The ejected electron is a beta particle and it is accompanied by the antineutrino (a massless, chargeless particle). The atomic number will increase by 1, and the mass will remain the same.
  • Spontaneous fission: A nucleus splits into two pieces. In the process, it can eject neutrons, which can become neutron rays.

In all three types of decay, the nucleus can also emit a burst of electromagnetic energy known as a gamma ray. Gamma rays are
the only type of nuclear radiation that is wave energy instead of a fast-moving particle.


Teacher Lesson Plan:

Traditional

Demonstration:
Preparation for Student activity:

  1. Remove the marshmallows from the packaging and let them “air” for a day.
  2. Mix the water and food coloring in a cup.
  3. Insert a toothpick into a marshmallow.
  4. Dip the marshmallow “fondue style” into the colored water for about 2-3 seconds.

One suggestion – make the protons PINK and make neutrons YELLOW. There should be 7 protons and 7 neutrons and 1 mini-marshmallow electron per group.

  1. Remove from colored water and stick in a Styrofoam tray to dry.
  2. Let dry for several days or until not sticky to the touch.
  3. Use marker to indicate protons with a “+” (plus sign).
  4. Put in plastic bags, i.e., 7 neutrons (yellow) and 7 protons (pink) and 1 mini-marshmallow.

NOTE: If you keep the marshmallows in a cool, dry place your “particles” will last for several years.

  1. Mark 7 large (pink) marshmallows with a positive (+) sign. They represent protons.
  2. Select 7 unmarked large (yellow) marshmallows to represent neutrons.
  3. From the group above, select 2 “protons” and 2 “neutrons”; use toothpicks and glue to join these into a group of four. This represents an alpha particle.
  4. Mark the sides of 1 mini-marshmallow with a negative (-) sign; it represents an electron. Stick, but do not glue, 1 toothpick into this mini-marshmallow. Glue the other end of the toothpick into the side of 1 “proton” (so the positive sign is partially covered). This now represents a neutron.
  5. Put the alpha particle from step #3 into an empty zip-close bag. Add 4 “protons” (pink) and 4 unmarked neutrons (yellow). Zip bag closed. The closed bag represents the nucleus of a stable atom. If the binding energy can contain all the protons and neutrons within the nucleus, the atom is stable.
  6. Open the bag. Add one “neutron” (yellow) and one “neutron” that was made in step #4. Leave the bag unzipped; excess neutrons have now made it unstable because the proton neutron ratio is greater than 1:1.5.
  7. To become stable, the nucleus will emit a beta particle. Find the “neutron” you made in step #4. Pull off the mini-marshmallow (now it is a beta particle) and toss it about 1-2 feet from you. Leave the remaining proton in the bag and zip it closed. The atom’s nucleus has changed and is stable again.

To show a different radioactive atom that emits an alpha particle to become stable, place an alpha particle in an empty zip bag.

Add 2 protons and 2 neutrons. This represents the nucleus of Beryllium-8. The atom “emits” an alpha particle, which will pick up two electrons to become a stable atom of Helium-4. The result is two atoms of Helium-4.

Represent a gamma ray emission by shining a flashlight through the bag and shaking the contents, showing nuclear rearrangement. Although gamma rays are really not visible, you can use this to model the fact that gamma rays are not particles; they are a form of electromagnetic radiation.

If desired, you can add pipe cleaners around the bag to represent the orbits or shells where electrons would be present; mini-marshmallows with a negative (-) sign on them can be attached to the pipe cleaners to represent orbital electrons.

NGSS Guided Inquiry
Split students into small groups and give each student marshmallows. Have students design an experiment to model the differences between radioactive and stable atoms.


Student Procedure

  1. Mark 7 large (pink) marshmallows with a positive (+) sign. They represent protons.
  2. Select 7 unmarked large (yellow) marshmallows to represent neutrons.
  3. From the group above, select 2 “protons” and 2 “neutrons”; use toothpicks and glue to join these into a group of four. This represents an alpha particle.
  4. Mark the sides of 1 mini-marshmallow with a negative (-) sign; it represents an electron. Stick, but do not glue, 1 toothpick into this mini-marshmallow. Glue the other end of the toothpick into the side of 1 “proton” (so the positive sign is partially covered). This now represents a neutron.
  5. Put the alpha particle from step #3 into an empty zip-close bag. Add 4 “protons” (pink) and 4 unmarked neutrons
    (yellow). Zip bag closed. The closed bag represents the nucleus of a stable atom. If the binding energy can contain all
    the protons and neutrons within the nucleus, the atom is stable.
  6. Open the bag. Add one “neutron” (yellow) and one “neutron” that was made in step #4. Leave the bag unzipped; excess
    neutrons have now made it unstable because the proton neutron ratio is greater than 1:1.5.
  7. To become stable, the nucleus will emit a beta particle. Find the “neutron” you made in step #4. Pull off the mini-marshmallow (now it is a beta particle) and toss it about 1-2 feet from you. Leave the remaining proton in the bag and zip it closed. The atom’s nucleus has changed and is stable again.
  8. Draw your atoms on the Student Data Collection Sheet

 

Data Collection
Student Data Collection Sheets

Post Discussion/Effective Teaching Strategies
Questions provided on the Student Data Collection Sheets

Questions
After Step 5:

  1. How many positively charged marshmallows (protons) are in the bag? (Do not count the one whose positive sign is partially covered by the mini-marshmallow!) This is the atomic number of the atom.
  2. What element is represented by this model?
  3. How many neutral particles are in the bag? (You do count the particle where positive and negative charges cancel each other out!)
  4. What is the atomic mass of this atom? (Each large marshmallow equals 1 atomic mass unit, regardless of charge.)

Assessment Ideas

  • Have students discuss the differences between radioactive and stable atoms
  • Have the students discuss the difference between radiation and radioactive decay

Differentiated Learning/Enrichment

  • Have students discuss how the different arrangements of protons, neutrons, or electrons affect the radioactivity of an atom

Enrichment Questions

  • What is the atomic number of the atom at the end of the experiment?
  • What element does the atomic model represent at the end of the experiment?
  • What is the atomic mass of the atom at the end of the experiment?

 

Nuclear Chain Reaction Using Dominoes

Materials:

  1. Bunch of dominos
  2. Ruler
  3. Flat table that doesn’t shake

Directions:

    1. Arrange the dominos in the pattern shown.domino-1

 

 

 

    1. On another section of the table, arrange two straight lines of dominos.
    2. Knock over the single domino in front on the first pattern. Watch what happens.
    3. Now, knock over the first domino in one of the two straight lines.domino-2

 

 

 

 

  1. Take the ruler and hold it anywhere between the dominos lined up in the second straight line.  Knock over the first domino and watch what happens. Not all the dominos fell over.

What you’ll discover!

In a nuclear fission reaction in a nuclear power plant, the radioactive element Uranium-235 is used in a chain reaction.

The fission of U-235 splits off two neutrons, which in turn strike two U-235 atoms.

Two neutrons are split from each of the two U-235 atoms. Each of these neutrons then go on to strike another U-235 atom. Each of those atoms are split releasing two neutrons, which go on and hit more Uranium atoms.

The chain reaction continues on and on, getting bigger and bigger with each split.

The things that slow down a chain reaction are the control rods. A control rod is made up of cadmium or boron, which absorb neutrons. If you insert the control rod between the uranium atoms, the amount of neutrons available to cause more splits is reduced.

In the second line up of dominos, the ruler served as a control rod. Putting it between two dominos breaks the chain reaction similar to what happens in a nuclear reactor.

© 2006 California Energy Commission. http://www.energyquest.ca.gov/projects/nuclear.html

What’s Your Dose?

We live in a radioactive world – humans always have. Radiation is part of our natural environment. We are exposed to radiation from materials in the earth itself, from naturally occurring radon in the air, from outer space, and from inside our own bodies (as a result of the food and water we consume). This radiation is measured in units called millirems (mrems).

cover_panel

Click to View

The average dose per person from all sources is about 620 mrems per year. It is not however, uncommon for any of us to receive less or more than that in a given year (largely due to medical procedures we may undergo). International Standards allow exposure to as much as 5,000 mrems a year for those who work with and around radioactive material.

Calculate your annual dose on our Interactive Dose Calculator, or  download the printable version.

For an interactive version of the Dose Chart which is based on the internationally recognized units (Sieverts and millisieverts) go here.

Energy From the Atom – Part II

STUDENT INSTRUCTIONS:

Part II

Circle the letter of the correct or best answer.

1) Protons, neutrons and electrons are the three main patricides of

a)    a nucleus
b)    a reactor
c)    an atom
d)    a crisis

2) The particle which has no electrical charge is the

a)    neutron
b)    proton
c)    electron
d)    nucleus

3) If uranium has 92 protons, the number of neutrons in uranium-235 is

a)    92
b)    143
c)    184
d)    327

4) The splitting of a nucleus of an atom

a)    chain reaction
b)    separation
c)    assembly
d)    fission

5) A uranium-23’s nucleus may split when it is struck by

a)    a neutron
b)    a proton
c)    an electron
d)    another atom

6) The type of energy given off by the fissioning of uraniun-23s is

a)    heat energy
b)    electrical energy
c)    geo-thermal energy
d)    potential energy

7) Most of the uranium that occurs in nature is

a)    uranium-233
b)    urarium-234
c)    uranium-235
d)    uranium-2 38

8) An isotope that can become a fissionable atom is said to be

a)    fissionable
b)    fertile
c)    radioactive
d)    absorbent

9) The transferring of the heat from the reactor core is done by the

a)    fuel rod
b)    control rod
c)    coolant
d)    vessel

10) The main difference between a fossil power plant and a nuclear power plant is that in a nuclear power plant heat is produced by

a)    fission
b)    generators
c)    turbines
d)    steam

11) Electricity is produced when the steam turns the turbine which will spin the rotor of an electrical

a)    reactor
b)    generator
c)    coolant
d)    condenser

12) The containment building is made of steel or thick concrete because

a)    they do not have to be painted
b)    they are inexpensive materials
c)    they make an attractive building
d)    they prevent the escaping of radioactive materials

13) The fuel assemblies are placed in a container called

a)    a steam generator
b)    b, a control rod
c)    a reactor vessel
d)    an electrical generator

14) Alpha, beta and gamma are the names of three types of

a)    fuels
b)    reactors
c)    radiation
d)    elements

15) Nuclear waste material is divided into groups according to

a)    the amount of radioactivity
b)    the size of the waste
c)    the location of the material
d)    the medical profession

16) The first controlled chain reaction was achieved by

a)    Enrico Fermi
b)    Albert Einstein
c)    Marie Curie
d)    John Dalton

17) Emission scanning is different from an x-ray because

a)    it can be done quickly
b)    it uses expensive cameras
c)    it shows a picture of a part of the body
d)    it tells how a part of the body works

Produced by the Oak Ridge/Knoxville Section of the American Nuclear Society – 2008

Check your answers

ANSWER KEY

 

1. c

2. a

3. b

4. d

5. a

6. a

7. d

8. b

9. c

10. a

11. b

12. d

13. c

14. c

15. a

16. a

17. d

 

 

 

Energy From the Atom – Part III

STUDENT INSTRUCTIONS:

QUIZ III: ATOMS

Please complete each sentence.

  1. The three types of particles in atoms are: _____, _____ and _____.
  2. The atomic number of and element is equal to the number of_____ is its nucleus.
  3. The atomic weight of AN isotope of an element is the total number of _____ and _____ in the nuclei of its atoms.
  4. If an uranium isotope has 92 protons and 146 neutrons, its atomic weight would be _____
  5. An isotope of an element gets part of its name from the total number of _____ and _____ in its nuclei.
  6. If the isotope Helium-4 has 2 protons and 2 neutrons, the isotope Helium-6 would have _____ protons and _____neutrons.
  7. One elements changes into another element when it gains one or more _____.
Check your answers
  1. The three types of particles in atoms are: protons, neutrons, and electrons.
  2. The atomic number of and element is equal to the number of protons is its nucleus.
  3.  The atomic weight of AN isotope of an element is the total number of protons, and neutrons in the nuclei of its atoms.
  4.  If an uranium isotope has 92 protons and 146 neutrons, its atomic weight would be 238
  5.  An isotope of an element gets part of its name from the total number of protons AND neutrons in its nuclei.
  6.  If the isotope Helium-4 has 2 protons and 2 neutrons, the isotope Helium-6 would have 2  protons and 4 neutrons.
  7.  One element changes into another element when it gains one or more protons.

 

Radioisotopes in Industry

Radioisotopes in Industry

This project/demonstration will help students understand how radioisotopes are used in industry for gauging or other uses.

Materials

  • flashlight
  • six sheets of paper (8½ x ll inches)
  • transparent glass bottle or jar
  • milk or colored liquid to fill the glass bottle or jar

Procedure:
A) Lay a flashlight on a table. Darken the room and turn on the flashlight. Hold a sheet of paper in the beam of light (about one foot from the flashlight). How much light goes through the paper? Now hold two sheets of paper in the position. How much light goes through? Add sheets of paper until no light can be seen through the stack of papers.

Compare the light beam to particles or rays being given off by a radioactive isotope.

Ask students if they can explain how it might be used to gauge the thickness of metal, plastic, or paper coming from a manufacturing plant. [When the capability of a particular radioactive emission to penetrate a substance (metal, plastic, paper, etc.) is known, the amount of that emission that can penetrate a sample of the material can be used to determine the thickness of that particular sample.]

B) Place a transparent glass bottle or jar on the table. Direct the light beam from a flashlight through it. Hold a piece of paper on the side of the jar or bottle that is opposite the light source. Have someone fill the bottle with milk or a colored liquid while you observe the light coming through (onto the paper, or even through the paper).

By watching the light that comes through the bottle, is it possible to determine the height of the liquid in the bottle?

Ask students to describe how radiation might be used to operate an automatic shut-off valve for a tank being filled with liquid. [With no liquid in the tank, the radioactive emissions could easily travel from one side to another. As the tank filled, some of the emissions would (potentially) be blocked by the liquid. It would be possible to set the shut-off valve to operate when the radioactive emissions fail to penetrate or move across the tank.]

Variation: If you have a Geiger counter and a radioactive source, you can try adapting this activity using a radioactive source rather than a beam of light. Some possible radioactive sources include:  beta or gamma discs from a science supplier; a piece of red Fiestaware (which gives off alpha, beta and gamma radiation); a camping lantern mantle (with thorium in it). You will use the Geiger counter to measure the radiation that passes through either the paper or the jar. Before utilizing this variation in class, you will need to experiment to determine what distances to use between the radiation source and the Geiger counter for observable results. You may want to consider using both the light beam and the radiation sources for the demo – the visible light to provide a “model” and the radiation for a more direct demonstration

Using the Insider’s View Series: Nuclear Power

Teacher Resource:

AN INSIDERS VIEW: NUCLEAR POWER

Student Instructions:

Nuclear Power: Insiders View

(Please answer T for True or F for False)

____1. Nuclear power plants can be easily recognized because they all have a large cooling tower.

____2. The purpose of a cooling tower is to release excess radioactive material.

____3. In combustion, chemical energy comes from the electrons and combustion produces more energy than fission of an atom.

____4. The job of a turbine is to spin a generator.

____5. In a nuclear reactor, mechanical energy is converted into heat energy.

____6. The job of the condenser in a boiling water nuclear power plant is to change steam into water.

____7. In a boiling water reactor (BWR), the steam from the reactor goes directly to the generator to make electricity.

____8. After passing through a turbine, steam from the reactor goes to the condenser where it is cooled before returning to the reactor.

____9. The job of control rods in the reactor is to absorb electrons.

___10. Nuclear energy is stored in the nuclei of certain heavy elements.

___11. A reactor core contains fuel rods filled with ceramic-based fuel pellets containing uranium.

___12. Nuclear power plants have near-zero carbon emissions.

___13. A uranium fuel pellet has about as much energy as one barrel of oil.

___14. Control rods in the reactor can stop a nuclear chain reaction.

___15. Electricity is produced inside the reactor vessel.

Answer Key for NUCLEAR POWER

1F, 2F, 3F, 4T, 5F, 6T, 7F, 8T, 9F, 10T, 11T, 12T, 13F, 14T, 15F

Radioactive Orchestra

You and your students can make music using radiation data. But, before you begin, let’s review some background information.

Background

Humankind has always lived in a vast sea of ionizing radiation. It comes from the earth and from outer space, from our food, our air, and our water, from natural sources. Every radioactive substance gives off a specific pattern of emissions. These may be alpha particles, beta particles, or gamma rays — or some combination of these.

We can utilize a radiation monitor or Geiger counter to measure the level of radiation we’re exposed to at a specific moment. We can use the monitor to compare how much radiation comes from two different materials. (You may have a Geiger counter in your classroom to demonstrate this.) We can estimate our annual exposure to radiation and see that it depends upon where we live, the activities in which we engage, and upon the medical x-rays and ct-scans we may undergo. ANS has created an interactive radiation dose chart for your reference.

Getting to the Music

A group of scientists and musicians have been developing a new – and fun –  way to recognize, understand and appreciate the radiation from various materials by working with musical representation of  the gamma radiation emitted from each. Their work is explained and demonstrated on a web site at http://www.radioactiveorchestra.com.

What You’ll find

The radioactive orchestra has a variety of resources including videos that provide useful background for you and will help you to interest and inspire your students.

  • “TEDx Talk” – An 18 minute video introduction to radiation, specifically gamma rays, and the process by which the team has begun to create music. (Suggestion: view the video and decide how much you will show your students.) As a part of the presentation (at about 11 minutes into the video) they begin a demonstration of their “musical instrument” which consists of a radiation detector and electronic equipment to amplify the signals and make interesting sounds.
  • “The Radioactive Orchestra Making Music with Radiation” – This video provides a wealth of visual and auditory stimuli. The people who speak in this video do not speak English, but an English translation is provided in subtitles.
  • “Radioactive Orchestra featuring Axel Boman” –  What appears to be a white album cover, you will find audio samples of six difference pieces of music. These audio samples will allow you to show others how music may result.

You Can Have Some Fun

In addition, you’ll find reference to an Online Music Composer. You WILL want to experiment with this fun activity. By positioning your cursor on the Chart of the Nuclides, you’ll be able to get a sample of the sounds that developers have associated with the various radiation patterns of various isotopes. You can collect several sound samples and combine them. If you create a musical masterpiece, you can even export your work!

Challenge Your Students

Of course, you’ll want to carefully choose a way to introduce this fun activity to your students and get them interested in this resource.

But, you can offer them some challenges and stimulate their interest in uses of isotopes!

  1. Search for a list of isotopes used in medicine and create music based on that.

One source might be http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/Non-Power-Nuclear-Applications/Radioisotopes/Radioisotopes-in-Medicine/

  1. Search for Isotopes FOUND in a nuclear power plant:

Some of these can be:

235U (Uranium-235), 239Pu (Plutonium-239) and 233U (Uranium-233).

  1. Search for lists of isotopes used in industrial processes, food irradiation, space probes, etc. You could refer to A Day with the Atom to get ideas about topics for which students might gather lists of isotopes.

Give the students the challenge to create music for a future date and then schedule an opportunity for them to show off their creative work. While they are having fun with audio and video stimulation, they can also be building a new interest and appreciation for nuclear science and technology.

Nuclear Technology Time Line Activity

TEACHER INSTRUCTIONS:

By having students research the history of nuclear science and technology, you can help them realize how quickly the field has developed and awaken them to the many applications.

Although X-rays, nuclear radiation, and radioactive elements were discovered in the 1890’s, many milestones in the application of nuclear technology have been in the past 60 to 70 years. The task is for students to review a list of events related to nuclear technology and determine the decade in which it occurred. Have the students use the internet, textbooks, or an encyclopedia to research the information.


STUDENT ACTIVITY:

Directions:

Match the nuclear technology events to the decade in which each occurred. There are THREE EVENTS for each decade. Match the letter to the proper decade. Key study or reference words are in bold-type.

Nuclear Technology Time Line Events

  1. Nuclear Power provides 19% of electricity in the U.S.
  2. President Eisenhower’s “Atoms for Peace” speech
  3. Limited Test Ban Treaty signed by U.S. & U.S.S.R.
  4. CAT Scanning is introduced
  5. First self-sustaining Nuclear Chain Reaction produced by mankind
  6. FDA approves first monoclonal antibodies for tumor imaging
  7. Accident at Three Mile Island
  8. First Radioisotope-powered lighthouse
  9. FDA approves irradiation of poultry
  10. Chernobyl accident in U.S.S.R.
  11. First use o reactor-produced radioisotope on a civilian
  12. U.S. FDA approves irradiated bacon, wheat and potatoes
  13. U.S.S. Nautilus the first nuclear-powered submarine is launched
  14. AMA recognizes nuclear medicine as a medical specialty
  15. 111 U.S. nuclear power plants are in operation.
  16. First atomic weapons are exploded
  17. Yucca Mountain in Nevada selected for nuclear waste disposal site
  18. First U.S. nuclear power plant begins operation

1940’s: 3 main events: _____, _____, _____

1950’s: 3 main events: _____, _____, _____

1960’s: 3 main events: _____, _____, _____

1970’s: 3 main events: _____, _____, _____

1980’s: 3 main events: _____, _____, _____

1990’s: 3 main events: _____, _____, _____

 

TEACHER ANSWER KEY

1940’s: E, K, P
1950’s: B, M, R
1960’s: C, H, L
1970’s: D, H, N
1980’s: A, J, Q
1990’s: F, I, O

 

 

 

 

 

Special thanks to Tim DeVries, who gave us permission to adapt this activity from one he originally developed.

 


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