sonya thadikaran n.
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Sonya Thadikaran. Nuclear Reactions. Curriculum Expectations. Describe the scientific principles of fission and a chain reaction and their applications in nuclear generating stations (e.g., the scientific principles applied in the CANDU reactor);

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curriculum expectations
Curriculum Expectations
  • Describe the scientific principles of fission and a chain reaction and their applications in nuclear generating stations (e.g., the scientific principles applied in the CANDU reactor);
  • Compare and contrast nuclear fission and nuclear fusion according to such criteria as feasibility, costs, and energy efficiencies.
  • Evaluate arguments for the use of nuclear technology, based on research into its advantages and disadvantages.
lesson sequence
Lesson Sequence
  • Day 1 – When students walk into class, they are greeted with a video playing on the LCD monitor showcasing nuclear reactions.
  • They are asked to sit down quickly, ask no questions, given 5 minutes to watch the video and write on a piece of paper what they believe the video is about.

Once this is done, they are asked to exchange the information sheets with their peers and each person reads one line from their friends sheet and a discussion ensues.

  • Teacher leads the discussion with the definition of Nuclear power and shows a chart with the division of nuclear power into its components.
  • Teachers then tells students to imagine that they are a nuclear scientist and use the computer simulation to make sure their reactor doesn’t have a MELTDOWN!!!!!

(To my peers, play this game, it’s really fun!!)

An individual report is submitted to the teacher of today’s class room understanding.

lesson sequence day 2
Lesson Sequence- Day 2
  • 2 random students are asked to recap to the class the activities and knowledge of day 1 of this concept as revision.
  • Teacher organises students into groups of 5 each and organises the jigsaw strategy of learning. Each student of the group will research 1 point about nuclear fusion and one point about nuclear fission. Then, the members meet together and collaborate their results and submit their findings as a group oral presentation. Teacher clarifies the points and explains in a bit more detail.
  • Students are then asked to imagine that they are concerned citizens and write a letter to the prime minister highlighting why they believe nuclear fission is the energy of the future or why they believe that nuclear fusion is the energy of the future.
  • Students submit the letter for evaluation.
day 3 lesson sequence
Day 3 – Lesson sequence
  • Teacher asks students to get into groups of 5 and organize a skit on the applications of nuclear power.
  • After this actvity, the teacher introduces a scientist from the CANDU plant who will answer students questions and show a power point presentation of the internal workings of the lab.
  • Then,Chain reaction is taught by the following simulation.
  • Teacher organises a debate with 10 students for nuclear power and 10 students against nuclear power after students research in their own groups using these sites and books.
  • Visit to a alternative energy plant and a field trip report illustrates the importance of being open to energy alternatives for the well being of our planet.
  • Teacher revises the nuclear energy concept by a quiz show activity and she concludes by an assessment of a student’s moodle where the student has to prepare a summary of the points in the chapter and teacher corrects.
  • A nuclear reaction is the process in which two nuclei, or else a nucleus of an atom and a subatomic particle (such as a proton, or high energy electron) from outside the atom, collide to produce products different from the initial particles.
  • Students are shown these videos and asked to write down any points that they understood from these videos in a groups of three each.

nuclear fission
Nuclear Fission
  • Nuclear fission is a nuclear reaction in which the nucleus of an atom splits into smaller parts (lighter nuclei), often producing free neutrons and photons (in the form of gamma rays), and releasing a tremendous amount of energy.
  • Fission is usually an energetic nuclear reaction induced by a neutron.
nuclear fusion
Nuclear Fusion

Nuclear fusion is the process by which two or more atomic nuclei join together, or "fuse", to form a single heavier nucleus. This is usually accompanied by the release or absorption of large quantities of energy.

Fusion is the process that powers active stars, the H-bomb and experimental devices examining fusion power for electrical generation.

Creating the required conditions for fusion on Earth are very difficult….

fusion vs fission
Fusion Vs Fission



  • Fission is the splitting of a large atom into two or more smaller ones.
  • The energy released by fission is a million times greater than that released in chemical reactions.
  • Takes little energy to split two atoms in a fission reaction. Feasible! Less expensive!
  • Fusion is the fusing of two or more lighter atoms into a larger one.
  • The energy released by fusion is three to four times greater than the energy released by fission.
  • Extremely high energy is required to bring two or more protons close enough that nuclear forces overcome their electrostatic repulsion. Not Feasible! More expensive!
chain reaction
Chain Reaction

A series of chemical reactions in which one product of a reacting set is a reactant in the following set.

The main steps of a chain reaction are:




applications of nuclear reactions
Applications of Nuclear Reactions

The CANDU, short for Canadian Deuterium-Uranium reactor is a Canadian-invented, pressurized heavy water reactor. The acronym refers to its deuterium-oxide (heavy water) moderator and its use of (originally, natural) uranium fuel.

The CANDU reactor functions in a manner similar to a pressurized water reactor (PWR). Pressurized coolant is passed through the fuel bundles to cool them. This hot, pressurized cooling water is carried to a steam generator where the heat energy is transferred to light water and converts it into steam. This steam is then used to turn the steam turbines which turn the generator, creating electricity.

adv disadv of nuclear power
Adv/Disadv of Nuclear Power
  • Advantages
  • Nuclear power plants are more efficient than ever before. New technology has made them more reliable (they break down less often) and safer.
  • They reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Proponents of nuclear power argue that, as no coal or fossil fuels are burnt, no carbon dioxide is released into the air.
  • Although the initial cost of building nuclear plants is high, the running costs are relatively low.
  • Reduces dependence on foreign oils and natural gas (like biofuels).


  • The storage and management of dangerous high level radioactive waste;
  • the possibility of proliferation of nuclear materials and potential terrorist applications;
  • the high cost of building nuclear facilities
  • the small possibility of accidents.
  • Nuclear bombs, weapons and nuclear warfare
solution for a better world alternative power sources and controlled and monitored nuclear power
Solution For a better worldAlternative power sources and controlled and monitored Nuclear power!!
misconceptions and solutions
Misconceptions and Solutions
  • The greatest difficulty students would face is believing that nuclear power is always inherently harmful and that nuclear power can never be used for the good of humanity.
  • Another misconception they would have is to believe that alternative energy usage is a vague, and impractical concept.
  • Solutions
  • A field trip to the sustainable energy plant and a solid debate will dispel these myths.
  • My evaluation would consist of written reports on their field trip, letter writing, oral presentation, skit, summary on a moodle, construction of a nuclear power planet model.
  • Electricity- generation of a “clean” source of energy for homes
  • Space- space missions in space propulsions
  • Heating systems – For homes, factories and offices
safety considerations
Safety Considerations
  • Students have to ensure that they don’t touch any live wires during their field trip and that their model of a power plant is made with safe materials which are non toxic
demonstration and lab
Demonstration and lab
  • Students have to construct a model of a nuclear power plant with “junk” and “waste materials” like thermocol, paper, tubes, sticks, used dynamo(small) etc.
  • A sample diagram is given on the next page.
  • For my peers and students, try this activity, a nuclear power plant simulation.. So much Fun!!
  • -
  • Nelson Chemistry Grade 12
  • Inorganic Chemistry – 3rd edition- Peter Atkins
  • For chain reaction simulation with dominoes