Lesson Two

The Past, Present, and Future of Nuclear Energy

About This Lesson

What is the difference between fusion and fission, and what does this have to do with nuclear energy? In this lesson, suitable for grades 6-8, students will define fusion and fission and what happens when each occurs.

Materials Needed:

Handout: Fusion versus Fission

Clip: Episode 409: “The Past, Present, and Future of Nuclear Energy” Fission Definition (Uranium)

Clip: Episode 409: “The Past, Present, and Future of Nuclear Energy” Fusion Definition

Materials: Crayons, Colored Pencils, Markers, Etc.

Procedure:

1. Review definitions of atom and nucleus.

 

2. Watch Tomorrow’s World Today, Episode 409: “The Past, Present, and Future of Nuclear Energy” and write down definitions of fusion and fission.

 

3. Divide students into groups and assign each of them an element. As a group, they will draw a picture of what happens to each element during either fission or fusion. (Note: if demonstrating fission, students will be assigned one larger element; if fusion, they will be assigned two)

A. Element name: Uranium-233, Uranium-235, Plutonium-239, , Plutonium, Hydrogen, Helium, Carbon, Oxygen, Silicon, Sulfur, Argon.

B. Label nucleus and atom BEFORE fusion or fission.

C. Label nucleus and atom AFTER fusion or fission.

 

4. In groups of three, students will create a diagram that represents the changes in composition of the nucleus during during fusion or fission.

 

5. Share with class.

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