Murder Mystery - Nuclear Chemistry - National 5 Chemistry

Based on a true story!

This activity is based on Unit 3.5 Nuclear Chemistry from “Chemistry in Society” although some questions can also be linked to Unit 1.2 Atomic Structure from “Chemical Changes and Structure”.

The key skills which are assessed in this activity are:
• Manipulating equations involving half-life, time, and # of half-lives;
• Representing the amount left after a # of half-lives as a fraction;
• Solving decay equations;
• Comparing the penetration of alpha, beta, and gamma radiation;
• Expressing isotopes using nuclide notation;
• Recognising the information given in mass and atomic numbers;
• Describing the properties of protons, neutrons, and electrons.

• Manipulating equations involving half-life, time, and # of half-lives;
• Converting percentages to fractions;
• Using multiplication and division to calculate the # of half-lives;
• Using addition and subtraction to solve decay equations;
• Adding the days between 1 November and 3 August.

• Collecting information from the story and the list of suspects;
• Solving the crossword puzzle;
• Converting Greek alphabet into Latin alphabet.
• Making the connection between Mendeleev and Russia, Mr Vladimir and Vladimir Putin, and Maria Sklodowska-Curie and polonium.

How to use it in the classroom?
This activity can be completed individually, in pairs or in small groups.
Murder Mystery (30-45 min)
The number of tasks and the range of topics covered allows pupils to distribute the tasks (Clues) according to their preferred topics. After completing each task, they can exchange information within the group to eliminate the innocent suspects and gradually find out more details about the murderer and the radioactive isotope.
Murder Mystery – Extended Version (45-60 min)
Each pupil or group is initially given the story, the list of suspects and Clue 1. They need to successfully complete Clue 1 and ‘pay’ before they are given the next task, i.e. Clue 2. The ‘payment’ could be anything from singing a song, telling a joke (maybe a bonus for a chemistry pun?) to answering a short question e.g. “What is the charge of an electron?”. As a teacher you can select a few appropriate ‘payment methods’ knowing the personality of your pupils and potential risks (inappropriate jokes, sectarian songs etc). Some of them may find singing in the classroom childish while others may genuinely enjoy it. You are in control because you select the options they can choose from while they benefit from Blended Learning and do not feel forced into doing something they are not comfortable with. It is also an opportunity for you to get to know them better based on their choices (and jokes).

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Created: Dec 16, 2019

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