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Homework Help: Experiment to simulate the radioactive decay of U-235

  1. Jun 5, 2016 #1
    Basic high-school homework. I mostly just want feedback on my answers and advice :)

    The experiment was to:
    Drop pins into a box. Pick out the one's upside down and count them and these are the ones that underwent decay.
    Get the ones that weren't upside down and throw them into the box again, then repeat the process until there are not pins left.

    This seems to be very similar how half life works, but I just need help in answering these questions:

    1) 3 aspects that make this experiment accurate in showing the radioactive decay of U-235

    -The process of removing the ones that were upside down is identical to what happens when an U-235 atom decays and stops
    -Uses "chance/probability" which would be very close to 50/50, just like in radioactive decay
    -Doing the experiment until there is no pins left is the same as when a sample of U undegoes complete decay.

    2) Identify two improvements to this process

    Repeat it and add more pins to start with so that an average can be obtained.

    3) Draw a table so that the results are valid and reliable.
    >Valid and Reliable are important terms to this, but I'm sure not sure how either than just repeating...

    4) Graph your average results
    >Does this mean I should repeat the experiment, drawing various tables and average them out?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 5, 2016 #2


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    2017 Award

    Staff: Mentor

    There is nothing special about 50% chance in radioactive decay, this is different from your experiment.
    I guess just draw a table and fill in results.
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