Realities of radiation

Grades 9-12
Subjects: Science


In these 3 sessions, students will investigate the various types of radiation and the role that each plays in our lives.

What you’ll need

  • Realities of Radiation Educator Guide
  • Realities of Radiation Slideshow
  • MythBustin’: Realities of Radiation” CER Capture Sheet (1 per student pair/small group)
  • Radiation Graphic Organizer Card Cut-outs set (1 per group)
  • String
  • Scissors
  • Student devices (laptop, tablet, phone)
  • Radiation Concept Map Notes Sheet (1 per student)
  • Radioactive Decay Notes Capture Sheet (1 per student)
  • 1 cup (per student group)
  • 50 pennies (per student group)
  • 50 dimes (per student group)
  • Determining the Half-Life of a Radioactive Isotope Data capture sheet (1 per student group)



Session 1 introduces the topic of radiation, activate prior knowledge and reveal misconceptions, students will participate in a MythBustin’ activity.  Slides 1–8 contain activities to engage students in understanding the realities of radiation and dispelling misconceptions.

In Session 2, students will review the basic structure of atoms, ions, and isotopes. They will learn the difference between stable and unstable nuclei and use an interactive website to build virtual atoms. Next, they will use their knowledge of radioactive decay to balance nuclear reaction equations. Finally, they will participate in a small group activity that will simulate radioactive decay and calculate, graph, and determine the half-life of fictional radioactive atoms.  Slides 9–15 contain activities to engage students and further their understanding of the nucleus of a radioactive atom. They will determine the half-life associated with radioactive decay and how this knowledge can apply to human health, the age of the fossils, and geological formations.

In Session 3, In this radiation challenge, students will research and brainstorm ways to improve how ionizing radiation and nuclear techniques are used to help solve global problems.

NB Curricular Outcomes

Physics 11 and Chemistry 11

  • 212-1 identify questions to investigate that arise from practical problems and issues
  • 116-4 analyse and describe examples where technological solutions were developed based on scientific understanding

NB Global Competencies

Sustainability.pdf (

Activity downloaded from High School Resources — ANS / Navigating Nuclear / Classroom Resources



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