“Nuclear War”


Purpose of activity:

To reinforce learning about types of radioactive decay (alpha, beta and gamma decay).   (This game is not about nuclear war! The idea for the game came from the card game “War” where you try to give your opponent all the cards.  The “nuclear” part refers to the nuclei of atoms.)


Information about the types of decay is given in the instructions so that it is possible to play this game without having already studied radioactivity. However, the game is best used after the topic has been introduced via textbook, lecture, or video.  It is designed as a reinforcement activity.


This card game can be played with as few as two players or as many as a dozen.  Players collect protons, neutrons, electrons, beta particles, positrons, and gamma rays in order to form a type of radiation, resulting in a transfer of an unstable nucleus card to the other team.  The first player/team to get rid of all their unstable nuclei wins the game.

Target age group:

ages 10-18

Number of players:

2-12  (for more than 12, make more teams and have several games going at once)


Click here to download “Nuclear War”

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