Is A "Dirty" Bomb? Lesson Plan
This lesson is a
guided Internet Reading activity based upon a Newshour with Jim Lehrer
Have students get into small groups to discuss their answers, and then have the whole group get together to report out what they have learned.
Students can then read Radiation Questions and Answers from the Center for Disease Control. Then ask students to consider what people in their community know about dirty bombs.
Have students return to small groups to design a survey of five questions for use with at least one person from their home or their community. The survey should ask adults whether they think terrorism is an issue in the community, and whether they know what to do in case of an emergency like a dirty bomb. These survey results can be used for further discussion or submitted as homework.
To demonstrate how
material is dispersed in the environment, put three teaspoons of corn
starch into an empty 9" balloon. Spoon the cornstarch in directly
or use a conical paper funnel. Use a pump to inflate the balloon or
be careful not to inhale the cornstarch if you inflate it with your
own air, and tie off. Shake up the balloon to distribute the cornstarch
over the inside surface of the balloon. Hold the balloon over a dark
surface that can be cleaned, and pop the balloon. How does the cornstarch
move in the air? Is some of it carried far and away? It is a good thing
that cornstarch easily cleans up! Now try this: Weigh the balloon before
adding cornstarch. Weigh the balloon after adding cornstarch. Weigh
a dark groundsheet or paper catch sheet. Weigh the groundsheet after
"exploding" your "dirty bomb". Did you catch all
of the "dirty material"? Where did it go? In nature, where
do think this material would end up after days, weeks, months, years?
Activity 2: Mix
5g iron filings and 1L sand. Use a magnet to separate out the iron,
and place it all on a balance. Could you recover the full 5g? What percent
remained in the sand? If this had been 5000 grams of cesium released
into the environment, use a proportion to estimate how much would have
remained after your clean up efforts. Do you think this amount is acceptable
to leave in the environment? Why or why not? Try again to get the remaining
iron filings. Is there a lot more work now to get a lot less material?
How would this frustration factor work on a large scale for materials
released into the environment? Do cesium or barium have any qualities
like magnetism to make them easy to clean up? Just because we know these
elements are there using a Geiger Counter, does not make it easier to
find and collect the little individual parts of the substances.
Activity 3: Research and write responses to these questions: What legislation exists regarding the safe removal and disposal of hazardous wastes? What kind of laws are there in your state or county that deal with these concerns? What has been the historical significance of "dirty" sites like Three Mile Island after the nuclear accident there? What did the Soviet Union have to do to contain the radiation and keep it from the environment at Chernobyl? Did it work? What environmental or health problems are associate with these accidents? How are "dirty bombs" like medical or energy plant accidental contaminations (materials, cleanup, regulations)? How are they different (intentions, irresponsibility, etc)?
1. Easy to make, few casualies, government most ready to respond.
2. Cancer clinics, industrial research labs, Princeton University (et al)
3. Cesium-137 and Cobalt-60
4. Cleanup to EPA standards, mass evacuation of city areas
5. Often, yes.
6. Suitcase, truckbomb, sprayed
7. Not yet.
8. 250 and 4
9. About one-quarter of a million.
10. Airports, seaports, customs officials, government officials
14. Several months
18. Asphalt and rooftops
19. Panic, heart attacks, the explosive devise itself
20. Cleanup standards in a case of widespread contamination at a low level.
NPH-H.9-12.3 REDUCING HEALTH RISKS
Demonstrate ways to avoid and reduce threatening situations.
NPH-H.9-12.4 INFLUENCES ON HEALTH
Evaluate the impact of technology on personal, family, and community health.
Analyze how information from the community influences health.
Evaluate the effect of media and other factors on personal, family, and community health.
Analyze how the environment influences the health of the community.
Some distinctive physical properties of minerals include magnetism, radioactivity, odor, clarity, flourescence, and crystal arrangement.
The environmental hazards caused by human activities.
Nuclear reactions involve much greater energy than chemical reactions. Radiation from nuclear reactions can have harmful or useful physiological effects.
Making notes of responses received from Interviews and Surveys.
Gathering information from Interviews.
Human changes to the physical environment can have environmental consequences.
Identifying environmental issues and problems in the state.
Author Steve Crandall is a teacher of secondary mathematics and science since 1979, National Board Certified in Early Adolsecence/Mathematics. An amateur entomoligist and astronomer, he has presented lessons at state and national conferences for mathematics and science and middle school teachers.
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