To simulate the spontaneous and random process of radioactive decay.
In this experiment, drawing pins will represent radioactive atoms. When a drawing pin lands on its side it will be said to be undecayed. When a drawing pin lands pointing upwards it will be said to be decayed.
- You will be provided with a box of drawing pins. Count up how many there are present in the sample.
- Throw the drawing pins all together on the bench. Take care to ensure they are all retained.
- Count up the number of drawing pins that remain decayed and undecayed and record this result in the table provided.
- Remove the decayed drawing pins.
- Repeat the experiment again by throwing the remaining undecayed drawing pins onto the bench. Keep repeating until all the drawing pins have decayed. Extend the table if you need to.
|Throw Number||Number of undecayed drawing pins||Number of decayed drawing pins|
- Plot a graph of the number of undecayed drawing pins versus throw number.
- Plot a graph of the number of decayed drawing pins versus throw number.
- What is the shape of these curves?
- Discuss why this experiment is a good simulation of radioactive decay.
Write a conclusion which explains why the drawing pins can simulate radioactive decay.