Lesson Plan Day: 39         10/16


Teacher: P. Kirk

Subject: Science

Course: Chemistry

Topic: Isotopes, differences in mass and different numbers of neutrons, abundance



C.PM.1: Atomic structure - Evolution of atomic models/theory

HS.PS1.C: Nuclear Processes
Nuclear processes, including fusion, fission, and radioactive decays of unstable nuclei, involve release or absorption of energy. The total number of neutrons plus protons does not change in any nuclear process. (HS-PS1-8)
Section 21.1: Nuclear reactions affect the nucleus of an atom.
Section 21.4: Nuclear Fission and Nuclear Fusion


Learn what is different about isotopes of the same element. Define and calculate abundance, average atomic mass and the number of neutrons in a specific isotope.  


 isotope, abundance, relative abundance, mass number, neutron



Students will work in lab groups to complete the Isotopic Pennies Lab. The Small-scale Lab: Atomic Mass and Coinium will push many students to the edge and beyond their current math ability. They will be given a empty film canister, a canister containing a set number of Pre-1982 and Post-1982 pennies, they will also be given 1 pre and 1 post penny. From this they will determine the number of pre and post pennies in the container without opening the container. This process simulate the determination of the abundance of two isotopes of an element in a sample of an element. 

Students will work alone or in small groups to complete the Average Atomic Mass Packet. If students need additional work or practice they should work on and turn in Average Atomic Mass Practice Problems (Skill Practice 9).

Students will use the PhET-Isotopes and Atomic Mass simulation to complete the PhET handout.

Students will work on and check answers with the Atomic Structure / Isotopes and Average Atomic Mass practice worksheet. 


Teacher will need to walk students through the lab. Higher level math students may understand the fact that two missing variable require two equations and the substitution of one equation into the other to solve for the variable .

Teacher will if necessary go through notes covering isotopes, and the calculation of average atomic mass. Assist students work, possibly going through a problem or two on the Skill Practice 9 worksheet.

Monitor student progress on the simulation. Assist where necessary. This one will be a bit more challenging for them. Many lack the math skills to calculate abundance and number of a specific isotope.  


Mass balances, coinium containers, empty containers and pre and post 1982 pennies. Copies of The Coinium Lab, Average Atomic Mass Packets, Skill Practice 9 worksheet, PhET-Isotopes and Atomic Mass handout, calculators, Notes and PowerPoints on the topic,



The Coinium Lab could be checked and or graded, but student performance and understanding of the topic will be minimal. Best bet is to check for 5point student participation on the lab.

The packet should either be graded for completion 5 to 10points or for correctness 15 to 20points.  The Skills Practice 9 worksheet could be collected for 10points or taken as 5 extra credit points from those that do it. 

The PhET packet can be checked, answers can be given or it can be collected for a grade of maybe 10points.

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Last modified: 08/13/19