Distinguish between nuclear fusion and nuclear fission by describing how each process transforms elements present before the reaction into elements present after the reaction.
Matter: Properties and Change
In prior years, students learned the basic concepts behind the atomic nature of matter. In grades 9-11 students learn about chemical reactions, starting with the structure of an atom. They learn that the Periodic Table groups elements with similar physical and chemical properties. With grounding in atomic structure, students learn about the formation of molecules and ions, compounds and solutions, and the details of a few common chemical reactions. They also learn about nuclear reactions and the distinction between fusion and fission. These concepts about the fundamental properties of matter will help students understand chemical and nuclear reactions that are important in modern society and lay the groundwork for both chemistry and life science.
Nuclear reactions convert matter into energy, releasing large amounts of energy compared with chemical reactions. Fission is the splitting of a large nucleus into smaller pieces. Fusion is the joining of nuclei and is the process that generates energy in the Sun and other stars.