Exploration-The Case of the Melting Ice & Radioactive Decay – 1/30/14

In class, we explored the rate of which a sample of ice was melting in order to determine when it began melting. We also created a simulation with Skittles to recreate radioactive decay and half-life.
The first lab was to determine the rate at which “frosty” (ice in a funnel) was melting, and to use the rate to determine when “frosty” began melting. It was determined that my “frosty” melted at a rate of 0.360mL per minute, and that he had begun melting about 9:40 a.m., 53 minutes before measurements began.


In the second lab, we had to use our sample of SkittlesĀ© candy to simulate radio active decay in radio active materials. By tossing the sample in a cup, we would observe and record the amount of “radioactive nuclei” (marked side down) left. We would remove the “decayed nuclei” and continue to toss the remaining samples until we had no “radioactive nuclei” left. We then gathered a class average and graphed the data. This came out to show a negative linear relationship between the number of tosses and amount of “radioactive nuclei” remaining. This also showed that as less “nuclei” remained, the less likely it was to decay in large numbers. The exploration also showed there is no true way to determine if a single specific atom in a material will decompose.



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