Sunday, March 10, 2024

FREE SCIENCE LESSON - “Student Centered Activity for Learning Isotopes”

by Lab In Every Lesson
6th - 12th Grade

In this student centered learning experience, students will analyze the subatomic particle data they collect through building various isotopes to determine which factors contribute to their stability and which create instability. Data sheets for each element are provided to ensure all necessary information is collected. There is a great deal of versatility for delivery of the lesson with the materials provided.

This student centered learning experience was designed to support students as they seek to accomplish the following Learning Intentions & Success Criteria (CHECK OUT THIS PODCAST EPISODE ON LEARNING INTENTIONS & SUCCESS CRITERIA!):

Today I am learning about isotopes so I can:

  1. talk like a scientist!
  2. recognize the difference between mass number, exact atomic mass and average atomic mass.
  3. explain radioactivity.

I’ll know I’m successful when I can:

  1. define terms on the Word Wall.
  2. determine the composition of the nucleus for various isotopes.
  3. name isotopes using their mass number.
  4. explain how mass number is different from exact atomic mass.

HOWEVER, AS THIS PRODUCT DOES NOT CONSTITUTE A COMPLETE LESSON, REPRESENTING ONLY 1 OF THE 5 ELEMENTS OF EFFECTIVE INTERACTIVE SCIENCE LESSONS FOR STUDENT CENTERED LEARNING, no suggestions or guarantees are made about the likelihood students will achieve these goals using only this Learning Experience.

Ultimately, the science teacher who wishes to (1) create a more student-centered environment in their classroom or (2) deliver complex content in a versatile, coherent way to achieve deep learning either in-person or virtually will consider this an extremely valuable resource. The teacher might consider adding some or all of the following additional elements to this Learning Experience to enhance its effectiveness:

  • a complementary “Review & Preview” activity to activate and assess prior knowledge. CHECK OUT THIS PODCAST EPISODE ABOUT "REVIEW & PREVIEW"!
  • a complementary "Word Wall" which showcases vocabulary that is central to the lesson content.
  • analytical reading or writing components to promote scientific literacy.
  • data-dependent analysis of the Learning Experience outcomes.
  • complementary skill practice for formative assessment of mastery.

Consider downloading the Lab In Every Lesson FREEBIE Interactive Science Lesson for Teaching Isotopes to see how the elements in a complete lesson for student centered learning work together to enhance a central Learning Experience.


This product is a PowerPoint file designed to lead a student-centered learning experience wherein students explore the composition of isotopes, their notation and naming. Commentary regarding effective use of the technology tool(s) is provided, including suggested guiding questions and graphic organizers teachers might consider using when incorporating the learning experience into a classroom or distance learning lesson. A detailed answer key is not necessary; all the data students collect is factual and will not vary among individual elements.

The technologies linked in the activity are free, easily accessible on the web and compliment diverse learning styles. Effective use will prompt students to initiate a scientific-method-based investigation that builds critical thinking skills and provides the potential to produce artifacts that can be used to demonstrate learning and mastery.


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