Mathematical Modeling Using Real Radioactivity Data
Time: 2-3 class periods (45 minutes each)
Level: Grades 9-12 Chemistry, Algebra 2, PreCalculus, Statistics
Lesson OverviewAfter being provided with some background knowledge related to radiation and how it is measured with a Geiger counter, students will gather data using an online laboratory (iLab). An iLab is an experimental facility that can be accessed through the Internet, allowing students and educators to carry out experiments from anywhere at any time. After gaining access to the Radioactivity iLab on the internet, students will be guided through the process of gathering Geiger Counter data at various distances from the radioactive material. Once data collection is complete, iLab provides a robust data analysis tool, or data can be downloaded and analyzed by hand, using a spreadsheet, or any other data manipulation software. Students will then use radiation data from the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant to model radiation levels as a function of distance from the plant.
Students will understand that radiation levels are a non-linear function of the distance from the radioactive source
Students will develop a function that models the relationship between radiation levels and distance from the radioactive source
Students will analyze the fit of the model to the data
Students will use a model of radioactivity levels to make predictions
Activities, or alternative activities, that should have been done before
General content knowledge and skills students will need to succeed in this lesson. This should be written as if you are speaking to the students.
- Computational Problem Solving Practices
- Assessing Different Approaches/Solutions to a Problem
- Data Practices
- Analyzing Data
- Creating Data
- Visualizing Data