the Physics Education Technology Project
Available Languages: English, Spanish, Greek, Portuguese
This webpage contains a simulation that provides qualitative pictures of alpha radiation, fission of a Uranium 235 nucleus, and controlled and uncontrolled nuclear chain reactions. Evolution of the processes over time is shown. Variables such as the number of nuclei and the containment of reactions can be altered to demonstrate the statistical nature of the reactions.
Sample learning goals as well as a teacher's guide for the simulation are available.
This simulation is part of a large and growing collection. It has been designed using principles from physics education research and refined based on student interviews.
Please note that this resource requires
at least version 1.4.2_17 of
Java Applet Plug-in.
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A student hand-out created by a high school teacher specifically for use with the PhET Nuclear Fission simulation. Context-rich questions prompt students to think about what makes a nucleus fissionable and how containment vessels prevent runaway chain reactions.