Academic Standard

Nuclear Science
Tennessee State Standards
Science (2009-2018)
Grade range: 
No grade range
Subject = Physics
Nuclear physics is the study of the behavior of matter and forces and fields within the nucleus of an atom. You may have visited or read about nuclear power plants. We all feel the warmth from the sun on summer day. Most of us have had an X-ray photograph take of our teeth at the dentist. Could a fusion reactor power us out of the solar system or provide the world with a clean, infinite supply of electricity? The study of nuclear physics explains the immense energies and forces than can cause devastation or provide solutions to global energy needs.Conceptual StrandNuclear physics can be better understood with a deeper understanding of particle physics.Guiding QuestionHow is the investigation of nuclear particles related to a better understanding of nuclear physics?
Elements within this Standard
Course Level Expectation
Investigate the properties and structure of the atom.
Investigate properties of the quantum theory.
Explore the dynamics of the nucleus: radioactivity, radiocarbon/uranium dating, and half-life.
Compare and contrast nuclear fission and nuclear fusion.
Check For Understanding
Write and balance equations for the three forms of radioactive decay.
Solve half-life problems [Decay constant: k=0.693/T(1/2); Nuclear decay: Af =Aoekt].
Explain dating methods using carbon-14 or uranium.
Investigate the concept of half-life.
Explain how particles behave like waves.
Distinguish between coherent and incoherent light.
Recognize how the quantum theory explains the photoelectric effect.
Investigate the history and current events associated with nuclear and radioactive science.
Identify the parts of an atom.
Describe the properties and location of subatomic particles.
Describe three forms of radioactivity.
Distinguish between nuclear fission and nuclear fusion.
Investigate and describe quantum mechanics and the properties of quantum theory.
Explain the changes in atomic number or mass number for each form of radioactivity.
Discuss transmutation and transuranium.
Explain how particles behave like waves.
Describe how a laser is produced.
Recognize how the quantum theory explains the photoelectric effect.
State Performance Indicator
Write and balance nuclear reaction equations.
Solve half-life problems using the formula card.
Solve problems related to radiocarbon dating.
Describe the properties of coherent and incoherent light.
Identify parts of an atom (protons, electrons, neutrons, nucleus, and electron cloud).
Describe and identify the three basic forms of radioactivity (alpha particles, beta particles, and gamma rays)
Identify nuclear reactions given descriptions of the reactions.
Complete nuclear reaction equations related to neutron bombardment, beta and alpha emission, transmutation, fusion, fission, and chain reactions.