Radioactive Decay Song

“Ms. Kim, when you sang that part, you sounded like Alvin the chipmunk.” – RenMan.

So… radioactive decay is a REALLY WEIRD thing to teach to middle schoolers.

Honestly, I feel like middle school science standards should focus on teaching reasonable inquiry and investigative skills.  Like, how to tell the difference between dependent and independent variables, how to figure out a suitable control, and how to determine if results are reasonable or not.

It should also just test the ability to display data in different ways and use subject-specific vocabulary to explain discoveries.  During this time, you can teach matter, biology systems, basic physics concepts, and basic chemical concepts.

Isotopes?  WHY AM I TEACHING ISOTOPES?

Anyway, there’s a lot of random things kids have to learn for this chapter’s test…. so…. I made a song.

It’s based on “Radioactive” by Imagine Dragons, and to be honest, I usually half-write songs based on things going through my head.  For this though, I tackled it and looked through the test and figured out ideas that would be necessary for kids to know, but really hard to truly absorb without just memorizing it.  (Sad).

I began by teaching radioactive decay (using a few pictorials) on day 1.

The on day 2, I had a cloze exercise which the kids did really well on.  While they did the cloze, towards the end, I played the regular “Radioactive” song so that kids could familiarize themselves with it.  (Most kids knew it already).

Then I projected the lyrics and we practiced singing it piece by piece.

Finally, I played the karaoke version and used the karaoke lyrics to help me guide the kids on when they come in.  Some parts of the lyrics, admittedly, are clunky.  But overall, I’m pretty pleased!  It was cool enough for them to recognize the song… and I was dorky enough for them to laugh.  BUT they all recognized this was a much easier way for them to learn the material and they appreciated the work I put into the lyrics.

Most importantly, they had fun!  And at the end, when asked to draw a picture of an alpha and beta particle, most of the class knew what it was.  And THEN when asked to tell me what the new element of Polonium would be once it released an alpha particle, Xman, a science struggler, was the first to tell me it was Lead!  And then the girls all knew that this change of one element to another was transmutation!

Success!

Atoms of the same element
Have the same number of protons
But they might have different neutrons
(isotopes)
 
But if they have, different neutrons
They’re unstable in the nucleus
They must release nuclear particles.
 
It’s unstable – in the nucleus
So it releases particles
two protons, and neutrons
alpha particle
two protons and neutrons
alpha particle
Deeeecayyyy; deeeecayyyy it’s radioactive, radioactive
Deeeecayyyy; deeeecayyyy it’s radioactive, radioactive
 
When protons change
element’s not the same
it’s called transmutation don’t you know.
Different atomic number
Different element
 
It’s breaking up, stabling up, releases energy also
This is it, radioactive decay
Whoa
 
It’s unstable – in the nucleus
A neutron might split into
proton and electron
beta particle
proton and electron
beta particle
deeecay; deecay, it’s radioactive, radioactive
deeecay; deecay, it’s radioactive, radioactive
 
 
All isotopes are measured by the time
for half to decay; this is called a half-life
 
It’s breaking up – in the nucleus
Happens in a steady pace
No weather or pressure
Chemical reactions
Magnets or electricity
can speed it up
 
Whoa, oh, oh, oh, oh, whoa, oh, oh, oh, it’s radioactive, radioactive
Whoa, oh, oh, oh, oh, whoa, oh, oh, oh, it’s radioactive, radioactive

PS if you want the mentioned materials, just contact me.

Advertisements

One response to “Radioactive Decay Song

  1. Pingback: Radioactive Decay | The Khaos Era

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s