Unit 9 Big Quiz and Introduction to Nuclear Chemistry

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Students will be able to demonstrate their mastery of kinetics and equilibrium through taking a quiz as well as be able to describe the importance of nuclear reactions by reading an article, looking up vocabulary, and watching videos.

Big Idea

Nuclear processes such as fission, fusion, and radioactive decay involve the release or absorption of energy.


In this lesson students have a chance to demonstrate mastery of reaction rates and equilibrium by taking a big quiz.  Students also are introduced to nuclear chemistry by reading an article, performing vocabulary, and watching two videos.

  • This lesson covers several of the the Next Generation Science and Engineering Performance Expectations including
    • 1-5: Apply scientific principles and evidence to provide an explanation about the effects of changing the temperature or concentration on the reacting particles on the rate at which a reaction occurs.  It does so because students are taking a big quiz related to this material.
    • 1-6: Refine the design of a chemical system by specifying a change in conditions that would produce increased amount of products at equilibrium.  It does so because students are taking a big quiz related to this material.
    • 1-8: Develop models to illustrate the changes in the composition of the nucleus of the atom and the energy released during the processes of fission, fusion, and radioactive decay. It does so because students are being introduced to these ideas through a reading and videos.
  • This lesson aligns with the Next Generation Science and Engineering Practice 8: Obtaining, analyzing, and evaluating information: It does so because students are reading an article to answer questions.
  • For this lesson there are no additional resources needed.


Unit 9 Big Quiz

40 minutes

To begin this lesson I have students take a big quiz related to reaction rates and equilibrium.  

The quiz takes students about 20-30 minutes, and after I have collected all of the quizzes I go over the answers which takes about 10 minutes.

  • I begin by making sure that students are sitting in a spread-out manner and have pencils
  • I then pass out the unit 9 big quiz and the bubble sheets for their answers.  For this quiz I let students write on the paper so that they can keep it and use the results to help study for the exam on the material at the end of unit 10.
  • I let students know that when they are done they should bring their bubble sheet up for me to scan and then get started on the next part of the lesson (reading the article and finding vocabulary)
  • As all students complete the quiz I stop them from working on the article/vocab so that I can go over the answers to the quiz.   As I go over the answers I ask students if they have questions on why the correct answer is correct.  
    • The biggest mistake that students made on the quiz were questions #3 (this was tricky and misleading because the temperature did not matter), and #11 (they still have a hard time with seeing how concentration changes because it is 2 steps- first finding the shift and then how concentration changes)
    • This is a movie of my going over the first few answers of the quiz and clarify students questions.
    • This is a second movie of my explaining the last few questions on the quiz to students.
    • This is a copy of the answer key to the quiz.

Engage Part I

20 minutes

After I have reviewed the answers to the quiz I give students time to finish up the article and the vocabulary that they had started after the quiz.  This is the article and this is the paper where they record their answers.

The article comes from ChemMatters Magazine and is about how elements are formed in stars.  I feel that this is a great introduction article for students because it shows them the importance of nuclear reactions.

This is a copy of the article with the place where the answers can be found indicated.  

For the vocabulary I have students use their textbook (Glencoe Matter and Change) so I have the pages where the vocabulary can be found indicated.

After about 15 minutes I stop students from doing this activity and let them know that if they were not able to complete it in class that they should finish on their own for homework or during SMI time.

I then ask students to share out what they learned in the article.  I call on several students and get answers like, "elements come from the stars", "there are nuclear reactions in the sun", and "stars explode and spew elements out into space".

This is a copy of the answer key.  This is a copy of one student's answers. 

Engage Part II

25 minutes

For the last part of the lesson I show students two different videos to introduce them to nuclear chemistry.  As students watch the videos they fill in answers on their unit 10 Nuclear Chemistry Introduction videos paper.

The first video is a Bill Nye Video which reviews the parts of the atom.  For this video it is the first 6:40 that I show.

The second video that I show is one that was put out by General Electric in the 1950's to inform the public about nuclear chemistry.

I pause the video periodically to allow students to answer the questions.

Here is a copy of the answer key for the video questions, and this is a copy of one student's work.