Nuclear Theory: What is it? What are the different types of radiation?

Nuclear Theory: What is it? What are the different types of radiation?


Students will be able to distinguish the characteristics and components of radioactivity. Within a nuclear reaction differentiate among alpha, beta, and gamma radiation. In addition, students will be able to compare and contrast fission with fusion. 

Here are your notes and WSQ.

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Nuclear Theory Introduction

In this video you will learn about radioactivity, fusion, fission, and types of radiation. Remember, this is just the basics to building your background knowledge.

Source: various educators and Langhans

Nuclear Theory Part 1: These are the “S” in WSQ. You must have them under your video notes completed by the due date on the Unit Plan.

1. The nucleus of a large atom splits and two smaller atoms are formed. Energy is released in the process. What is the name of this process?

2. Which form of radiation is used to directly INCREASE the temperature of water in a nuclear reactor?

3. The source of power in a nuclear power plant comes from __________.

4. The three types of radioactive emissions are called alpha (), beta (), and gamma () radiation. Complete the table below with the correct information about each type.



Atomic Symbol

Can Be Stopped By













5.  Which of the three radioactive emissions () best fit the following statements? Write the correct symbol/s on the lines.

a)These emissions are charged. ____________                                          

b)This emission is the most massive (heaviest). ____________                 

c)This emission is the most charged. ____________                                              

d)This emission is most dangerous outside of the body. ____________               

e)This emission is stopped by thin paper or a few centimeters of air. _________ 

f)This emission can travel through paper, but is stopped by aluminum. _______  

g) This emission can travel through fairly thick lead. ____________


6. Complete the following nuclear reactions:


Source: various educators and Langhans

Question- asking Higher Order Thinking (HOT) questions; use the following as your guide:

1. A question that you are still confused about (be specific, include which part of the video, etc)
2. A question that connects the videos together (i.e. asking about the relationship between the content)
3. A question you think you know the answer to, but you want to challenge your classmates with
Use your Unit Plan to help with question starters

Source: inspired by C. Kirch