Nuclear Physics

This is an exciting, cutting edge area of physics that most students really enjoy. It's a fast moving area too so teachers' subject knowledge can date quickly. Students under 16 cannot handle radioactive sources so make the most of these simulations and demonstrations to really bring the subject to life.

Research shows mid and lower ability students find the particle model of matter difficult, so introducing radioactivity in terms of atomic and nuclear structure is unhelpful!  Start from the phenomena you can demonstrate, e.g. effects getting smaller with distance from source or which materials radiation can and can’t penetrate. Models of microscopic processes can help students develop understanding but may also add to misconceptions – so its important that students question the model.

Whilst this list provides a source of information and ideas for experimental work, it is important to note that recommendations can date very quickly. Do NOT follow suggestions which conflict with current advice from CLEAPSS, SSERC or recent safety guides. eLibrary users are responsible for ensuring that any activity, including practical work, which they carry out is consistent with current regulations related to Health and Safety and that they carry an appropriate risk assessment. Further information is provided in our Health and Safety guidance