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These are the relevant guides and latest date of revision: R92 The Measurement of Radioactivity.

Radioactivity is not usually introduced into the curriculum before KS4 although pupils may well experience the idea in some form much earlier from their parents of the media.

The topic has a huge potential for misconception and fear and these are explored from the perspectives of pupils and science teachers.

The resource Science Issues CD is a multimedia resource developed to give trainee teachers an understanding of the key ideas.

It is written for adults, but is pitched at about GCSE standard, so will be of use for both the teachers in training and their KS4 pupils.

However, it is important that students are familiar with concepts such as electrons; nucleus (protons and neutrons); (relative) atomic mass; atomic number and the Periodic Table.

Children are likely to come to their GCSE session with some (popular) ideas about the dangers of radioactivity, and they will have some knowledge of the electronic structure of the atom.

Some of these students describe ionizing radiation as having the same properties as radioactive materials.(p.345) Prather’s own research was undertaken on graduate students of geology who were trying to understand how radio-dating worked, and he targeted students' understanding of the role the atom plays in the radioactive decay process.

(p.346) Many of his students explained radioactive instability and decay in terms of electrostatic charge imbalance, and he devised this multiple-choice (plus reason) question to follow their ideas up in a larger sample (p.250): Circle the statement(s) which characterize(s) what happens during radioactive decay.

1.0 Introduction2.0 Conceptual Barriers to understanding ideas about radioactivity3.0 Progression in children's ideas4.0 Giving Practical experiences5.0 Resources Radioactivity encompasses ideas about powerful (and natural) processes which can be hazardous in various ways.

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