Work samples


Year 9

Above satisfactory

Radioactivity and its application

Summary of task

In a teaching and learning unit on chemical sciences, students learnt the basic concepts and history of atomic theory, investigated different models of the structure of atoms, and learnt about isotopes and different forms of radioactive decay. They discussed the effects of radioactive radiation, explored different ways in which radioactivity is used in modern society and researched the use of radioactivity for medical applications.

In this task, students were asked to create a script for an episode of a science television show targeted at teenagers. The episode was meant to explain to viewers the basic concepts underlying the phenomenon of radioactivity. They were asked to describe one medical application of radioactivity with reference to its risks and benefits to patients. Students were to assume that the audience was not familiar with the topic and were asked to include a description of the basic structure of the atom and an explanation of the term ‘isotope’. Students were also asked to include a list of references they used to research the topic.

Achievement standard

By the end of Year 9, students explain chemical processes and natural radioactivity in terms of atoms and energy transfers and describe examples of important chemical reactions. They describe models of energy transfer and apply these to explain phenomena. They explain global features and events in terms of geological processes and timescales. They analyse how biological systems function and respond to external changes with reference to interdependencies, energy transfers and flows of matter. They describe social and technological factors that have influenced scientific developments and predict how future applications of science and technology may affect people’s lives.

Students design questions that can be investigated using a range of inquiry skills. They design methods that include the control and accurate measurement of variables and systematic collection of data and describe how they considered ethics and safety. They analyse trends in data, identify relationships between variables and reveal inconsistencies in results. They analyse their methods and the quality of their data, and explain specific actions to improve the quality of their evidence. They evaluate others’ methods and explanations from a scientific perspective and use appropriate language and representations when communicating their findings and ideas to specific audiences.

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