In-class group activity 16:  Fission

Some nuclear reactions do not occur spontaneously, but require external sources of energy, in the form of "collisions" with outside particles.  "Activation energy" has to be provided before a much larger amount of "reaction energy" is released. Nuclear fission can be "activated" when a slow neutron collides with a fissionable nucleus.

Use an on-line simulation from the University of Colorado PhET group to explore nuclear fission
Link to the simulation  Click "Run Now!".

Open a Microsoft Word document to keep a log of your procedures, results and discussions.

Watch the linked video. Is this a good analogies of a nuclear chain reaction? If mousetraps and Ping-Pong balls are used to illustrate a fission chain reaction, what do each represent?