A Demonstration of Half-Life
In this experiment you will simulate radioactive decay in order to gain an understanding of the basics of half-life.
- 200 tiny pieces of cut paper with a different color on each side
- Choose the color of one of the sides of the paper to simulate that the paper has “decayed.”
- Place the paper in the cup, cover the top with your hand, and shake for 10 seconds.
- Pour all the paper out.
- Remove the paper that has been “decayed” and place the paper that has not “decayed” back in the cup.
- Repeat steps 2-4 up to seven more times for a total of eight tosses. If all the paper has all decayed before eight tosses, that is okay.
- Use a table to track the number of bits of paper removed per toss.
Warning is hereby given that not all Project Ideas are appropriate for all individuals or in all circumstances. Implementation of any Science Project Idea should be undertaken only in appropriate settings and with appropriate parental or other supervision. Reading and following the safety precautions of all materials used in a project is the sole responsibility of each individual. For further information, consult your state’s handbook of Science Safety.