In this lesson students are introduced to the types of radioactive decay and how to balance nuclear reactions through notes and practice.
I begin this lesson by leading students in notes.
To reinforce what we went over in the notes I have students practice balancing nuclear equations with the balancing nuclear practice questions worksheet.
I begin by passing out the paper.
I then go over an example with the students for the first question of each of the three sections on the first page (1a, 2a, and 3a). I then have students do the rest of the paper on their own. I instruct them to get help from their partners if they are stuck and if their partner can't help them to then ask me for help as I walk around.
The biggest area of confusion for students is figuring out how to write out the balanced equations. I instruct them to keep looking back at their notes for the examples and to use the patterns to help them. Students also get confused with the differences between beta decay, electron capture, and positron emission. I make sure to go over that in beta decay the symbol is on the product side; whereas in electron capture it is on the reactant side. I also tell them how positron is the same symbol but it has a positive one, not negative.
I have students complete the paper at home if they are not able to complete in class and I stamp for completion the next day. I then go over the answers using the answer key paper.