Alpha Decay

 This simulation-based resource elucidates the alpha decay process. The concept of how half-life is associated with alpha decay is illustrated. The student will observe through simulation that an element undergoing alpha decay ejects an alpha particle, which is actually a helium nucleus, from its nucleus, becoming a different element. This simulation is particularly effective in underscoring the concept of half-life. In the single-atom view, the decay process appears to occur at random times. In the multiple-atom view, the results are much more predictable, with roughly half of the atoms decaying by the time one half-life has elapsed. The more atoms in the sample, the more predictable is the time at which half the atoms have decayed.

Standards & Objectives

Academic standards
CLE 3001.5.3
Evaluate an argument, considering false premises, logical fallacies, and the quality of evidence presented.
CLE 3231.6.3
Explore the dynamics of the nucleus: radioactivity, radiocarbon/uranium dating, and half-life.
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Lesson Variations

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