Radioactive decay simulation Honors Chemistry

background [prelab assignment (30 points) due at the beginning of lab]

describe 2 methods using graphical analysis to determine the half-life of a radioactive isotope; basis ? (hint:  see content of lab report).

describe the Excel command / syntax for __

(recommend) review prior Excel dice rolling simulation lab (nothing to write for prelab assignment)


compare the determination of the half-life based on:

compare results (i.e. decay constant determination) from least squares analysis versus "Excel regression analysis"

relate the # of faces on a dice to the half-life & decay constant

fulfill various aspects of the NGSS science & engineering standards.


Excel dice rolling simulation - use template

methods / data analysis

1 - 2 students / group

using Excel, simulate 500 6- or 10- sided dice, which emulates radioactive isotopes

follow directions in Excel template

Content of lab report [60 points; no lab report revisions]

methods (10 points)

screenshoot of your Excel simulation (i.e. "step 3"), which includes the row / columm labels. include the Excel commands (in your prelab assignment) in your simulation (show the syntax and its parameters for each Excel command

data analysis  -  for 6 & 10 sided dice  (30 points)

determine the decay constant & half-life  

discussion  (20 points)

what is the (qualitative) relationship between the number of sides on the dice versus the (simulated) decay constant or the (simulated) half-life ?  refer to the preceding data to support your response.

rationalize the relationship between the decay constant, half-life, and the # sides on a die; refer to probability to support your response and the relationship between half-life and the decay constant.

pro / con of using Excel versus physical dice

describe / list all NGSS science & engineering practices that correlates to an aspect of this laboratory activity; provide an example in the lab & this lab report that meets these practices


lab activity source (examples):  site 1  &  site 2  [access 4 / 2009]

mathematica based tools



other: 2-anova & tutorial

Excel simulation - xlsm (enable VBA)

Excel as a mobile apps: Android OS; iOS [access 4 / 2017]

common core math standards: models & tools [access 4 / 2017]

computational thinking [access 4 / 2017]; by me