Module #1

Module Title: What is the nucleus of an atom?

Estimated time to complete: 90 minutes

Module objectives: Students will build a basic understanding of the nucleus.

Concepts learned in this module:

Standards addressed in this module:

Maryland State Department of Education High School Science Core Learning Goals



Goal 1

The student will demonstrate ways of thinking and acting inherent in the practice of science. The student will use the language and instruments of science to collect, organize, interpret, calculate, and communicate information.

Goal 4

The student will demonstrate the ability to use scientific skills and processes to explain composition and interactions of matter in the world in which we live.


The student will explain that all matter has structure and the structure serves as the basis for the properties of and the changes in matter.

Technology-enhanced instructional strategies utilized in this module:

Web-based tutorial



Brief description of module activities

Student Grouping

Materials/ Technology


Construct physical models of nuclei


Petri dish bottoms and pith balls


Atomic nucleus research to answer:

  • What is the average radius/density of the atomic nucleus?
  • How are all of the protons in the nucleus able to remain so close to each other?
  • How does the nucleus relate to the mass of an element?
  • What is an isotope? Give some common isotopes and list the number of protons and neutrons in each.


Textbook and reference materials

Explanation/ Extension

Jigsaw activity to learn more about nuclear particles. After exploring the topic "What is fundamental?" as a class, assign remaining 8 subtopics to groups and then jigsaw to share information.


The Particle Adventure at http:// Index.html


Unit Test after Module 3



Expected module outcomes:

Students will understand the basic properties of the nucleus.

Performance-based assessment of module outcomes:

Written test after Module 3



Unit Flow Chart
Unit Description
Module 1 2 3 4