Unit 3.6 Radioactivity
This unit emphasizes the importance and difficulty of understanding
concepts related to radioactivity. Ways to facilitate students
understanding are presented.
Video program cues: 33:25 44:15
Teaching about radiation
"I think it is the same as Mme.
Curie said: that nothing is to be feared, only understood.
What I try to make the students aware of on the first day
of a nuclear chemistry lecture course is that theres
a whole continuum of radiation, and its a natural
thing. We go all the way from radio waves which are long
and not so energetic, through micro waves through infra-red,
through UV through X-rays, through gamma rays, through cosmic
rays. This is a natural thing thats been going on
for billions of years. Since the synthesis of the elements
in our solar system, uranium and other naturally radioactive
isotopes have been decaying, so theres less radioactivity
now than there used to be."
Dr. Darleane Hoffman
Professor of Chemistry, UC - Berkeley
Venable, M.H (1998)' Reviews a Book: A Devotion to Their
Science: Pioneer Women of Radioactivity (edited by Marlene
F. Rayner-Canham and Geoffrey W. Rayner-Canham), 'Journal
of Chemical Education, Vol. 75, No. 2, pp: 151.
Half-life and M&Ms activity
Kelly Rottmann teaches half-life in an activity where M&Ms
are used as analogies to radioactive elements.
- A complete lesson plan for teaching
half-life. Includes links to two other lessons on
isotopes and carbon dating.
- Extensive pages from Lawrence
National Lab. Be sure to click on "Basic
Nuclear Science" and "Experiments".
Hughes, E.A.; Zalts, A.(2000)' Radioactivity in the Classroom,
'Journal of Chemical Education, Vol. 77, No. 5, pp:
"This is the kind of little
solid state detector we use for alpha and fission counting.
They are surface barrier detectors, and they have a thin
gold coating on the top. On this kind of detector, we turn
the sample and count and then we evacuate the chamber and
we record it through these various amplifiers, and we can
count both alpha particles, which, as I said, are the nucleus
of the helium atom and most of the heavy elements decay
by alpha emission, and sometimes spontaneous fission, which
is similar to the neutron-induced fission in reactors, and
Professor of Chemistry, VC - Berkeley
Wiesner, E. and Settle, F. Jr. (2001)' Politics, Chemistry,
and the Discovery of Nuclear Fission, 'Journal of Chemical
Education, Vol. 78, No. 7, pp: 889-895.
Dagani, R. (2000)' Small-Town Iowa Girl Makes Good, 'Chemical
And Engineering News, Vol. 78, No. 13, pp. 31-35.
Radioactive sources laboratory
Veatta Berry presents a laboratory about measuring radiation
and shielding from radioactive sources.
Hutchison, S. G.; Hutchison, F. I. (1997)' Radioactivity
in Everyday Life, 'Journal of Chemical Education,
Vol. 74, No. 5, pp: 501-504.
to Unit 3.7