# Episode 526: Preparation for nuclear fission topic

Teaching Guidance for 16-19

- Level Advanced

This topic does not lend itself to much practical work; there are a few analogue demonstrations which can be valuable.

## Main aims of this topic

Students will:

- Use balanced equations to represent transmutation, fission and fusion events
- Calculate mass and energy changes in such events
- Understand how a chain reaction can arise in fissile material
- Explain how a controlled chain reaction is managed in a nuclear power reactor

## Prior knowledge

Students should already be familiar with standard notation for nuclides and with balanced nuclear equations. They should know how to calculate energy changes from changes in nuclide masses.

## Where this leads

If your students are to study an astronomy topic, this work forms a basis for understanding nuclear processes in stars. Mass-energy calculations using *E* = *m* × *c*^{ 2}, as well as the ability to balance nuclear equations, will also be useful in any study of particle physics.