Ionising Radiation
Quantum and Nuclear

Thinking about actions to take: Sources of Ionising Radiation

Teaching Guidance for 14-16 Supporting Physics Teaching

There's a good chance you could improve your teaching if you were to:

Try these

  • dealing with the properties of ionising radiations before dealing with the sources
  • building up a simplified model of the atom, as needed
  • introducing a wide variety of sources, not only nuclear
  • building and discussing models of exponential decay
  • relating emissions to transmutations
  • exploiting a good model of energy, discussing changes in the nuclear store

Teacher Tip: Work through the Physics Narrative to find these lines of thinking worked out and then look in the Teaching Approaches for some examples of activities.

Avoid these

  • not drawing attention to the vastly different energies of photons with nuclear and atomic origins
  • not emphasising the nuclear origins of the ionising emissions
  • using the term atomic power
  • keeping the different representations of exponential decay separate, rather than relating them
  • avoiding negative energy, when accounting for nuclear transformations

Teacher Tip: These difficulties are distilled from: the research findings; the practice of well-connected teachers with expertise; issues intrinsic to representing the physics well.

Ionising Radiation
is used in analyses relating to Radioactive dating
can be analysed using the quantity Half-Life Decay Constant Activity

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