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Ch 21: MTEL Physics: Radioactive Decay & Nuclear Reactions

About This Chapter

Use our lessons and quizzes to help you understand nuclear reactions and radioactive decay. The information in this chapter can help you prepare for the MTEL Physics exam.

MTEL Physics: Radioactive Decay & Nuclear Reactions - Chapter Summary

Let the lessons in this chapter help you review information on balancing nuclear equations, calculating radioactive decay and applying nuclear chemistry as you prepare for the MTEL Physics exam. These videos will aid you in answering these types of questions on test day:

  • Defining elements, atomic number and mass number
  • Describing types of radioactive decay and their impact on the atom's nucleus
  • Interpreting decay graphs
  • Applying nuclear chemistry through fusion, fission, carbon dating, tracers and imaging
  • Examining mass-energy conversion, mass defect and nuclear binding energy

These lessons are led by instructors who are experts in the field and trained in helping you prepare for the certification exam. Because of the lessons' bright animation and engaging narration, you'll enjoy reviewing these concepts involving radioactive decay and nuclear reactions.

MTEL Physics: Radioactive Decay & Nuclear Reactions Chapter Objectives

Anyone who wants to obtain a certification to teach physics in Massachusetts must pass the MTEL Physics test. Topics covered in the chapter on radioactive decay and nuclear reactions are found in the test's subarea on modern physics. This subarea makes up 11% of the test's score.

The MTEL Physics exam consists of 100 multiple-choice questions and two written responses. You can practice answering multiple-choice questions on the quizzes that accompany each of our lessons. These quizzes also allow you to gauge your knowledge and see where you need further review.

7 Lessons in Chapter 21: MTEL Physics: Radioactive Decay & Nuclear Reactions
What Are Elements?

1. What Are Elements?

Look around you. What do you see? Elements are everywhere. They are the building blocks of all matter on Earth. In this lesson, we will discuss what an element is, how elements are written as symbols, and how elements are the building blocks of all matter.

Atomic Number and Mass Number

2. Atomic Number and Mass Number

Atoms are the basic building blocks of everything around you. In order to really understand how atoms combine to form molecules, it's necessary to be familiar with their structure. In this lesson, we'll dissect atoms so we can see just what really goes into those little building blocks of matter.

Types of Radioactive Decay and Their Effect on the Nucleus

3. Types of Radioactive Decay and Their Effect on the Nucleus

What is meant by the term 'radioactive'? In this lesson we will break down the three main types of nuclear decay particles and discuss their composition, their effect on the nucleus, and their applications.

Balancing Nuclear Equations & Predicting the Product of a Nuclear Reaction

4. Balancing Nuclear Equations & Predicting the Product of a Nuclear Reaction

When a radioactive particle gives off radiation, what happens to the particle? This lesson will explain the three major types of radiation and what effect they have on the decaying atom.

Half-life: Calculating Radioactive Decay and Interpreting Decay Graphs

5. Half-life: Calculating Radioactive Decay and Interpreting Decay Graphs

What causes a radioactive particle to decay? We'll never really know, but our best guess lies in probability. In this lesson, we are going to focus on the half-life, a way of measuring the probability that a particle will react.

Fusion, Fission, Carbon Dating, Tracers & Imaging: Applications of Nuclear Chemistry

6. Fusion, Fission, Carbon Dating, Tracers & Imaging: Applications of Nuclear Chemistry

What can the sun do that we can't? How do carbon atoms 'date'? Are radioactive isotopes helpful in the medical field? The answers to these questions can be found in this lesson on the applications of nuclear chemistry.

Mass-Energy Conversion, Mass Defect and Nuclear Binding Energy

7. Mass-Energy Conversion, Mass Defect and Nuclear Binding Energy

When you hear the term 'nuclear power,' what comes to mind? Do you know where that energy and power is coming from? In this lesson, we are going to zoom in on the nucleus of a helium atom to explain how something as small as a nucleus can produce an extremely large amount of energy.

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