June 10, 2023

Tricky Ideas: Radioactive Decay

Nimish Lad talks about the different ways to tackle abstract concepts within radioactive decay, and the pros and cons of using models with Guinness and popcorn.

Featured photo by Yulia Khlebnikova on Unsplash

Vice Principal of Secondary School in Northamptonshire. Physics teacher of 14 years with a keen interest in modelling, curriculum and assessment. Nimish blogs at https://researcherteacher.home.blog and tweets @NLad84

1 Comment

  • Gavin Rayner May 13, 2020

    One useful activity to do during the dice model is to line up the ‘decayed’ dice into a column after each throw. This gives you the shape of the exponential curve. This would reduce the cognitive load of drawing the graph and performing the experiment. I do it as a whole class demo, where we get four desks on their sides to form a square and throw 300 dice into the middle. Students jump in and collect the ‘decayed’ and ‘undecayed’ dice. Some have the task of forming the graph. It’s lots of fun and is very controllable, as it flits between chaos and order, while constantly referring to the live graph being constructed.

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