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Half Life Challenge

Different elements have different half lives. In this activity you will identify when element you

have by calculating the half life and matching it to known values.

Time (Years) Activity (Bq) A Geiger-Müller tube is used to record the activity of a
0 10000 sample over a period of time. The results are shown in the
20 6200 table.
40 3840
60 2380
80 1480
100 920
120 570
140 350 Activity (Bq)
1. Plot a graph of your data.
160 220
180 130
200 80
220 50
240 30
260 20
280 12
300 8 2. Use your graph to find the
320 5 half life of your substance.
340 3
3. Compare your calculated half life with the
360 2
380 1 table of known values.
400 1
4. Which element do you have?

5. The count rate of your element is unaffected when paper is placed between the source and

Time (Years)
the Geiger–Müller tube, but drops to almost zero when 5 mm aluminium is used.

Use this information to write the decay equation for your element.

Example Decay Equations:

238 234 4
U  Th + α
92 90 2

60 60 0
Co  Ni + β-
27 28 -1
Half Life Challenge
Different elements have different half lives. In this activity you will identify when element you

have by calculating the half life and matching it to known values.

Time (Hours) Activity (Bq) A Geiger-Müller tube is used to record the activity of a
0 10000 sample over a period of time. The results are shown in the
50 5820 table.
100 3390
150 1970
200 1150
250 670
300 390
Activity (Bq)
350 230
1. Plot a graph of your data.
400 130
450 80
500 45
550 25
600 15
650 9
700 5
750 3 2. Use your graph to find the
800 2 half life of your substance.
850 1
3. Compare your calculated half life with the
900 1
table of known values.

4. Which element do you have?

5. The count rate of your element is unaffected when paper is placed between the source and

Time (Hours)
the Geiger–Müller tube, but drops to almost zero when 5 mm aluminium is used.

Use this information to write the decay equation for your element.

Example Decay Equations:

238 234 4
U  Th + α
92 90 2

60 60 0
Co  Ni + β-
27 28 -1
Half Life Challenge
Different elements have different half lives. In this activity you will identify when element you

have by calculating the half life and matching it to known values.

Time (Years) Activity (Bq) A Geiger-Müller tube is used to record the activity of a
0 10000 sample over a period of time. The results are shown in the
100 6120 table.
200 3740
300 2290
400 1400
500 855
600 525
Activity (Bq)
700 320
1. Plot a graph of your data.
800 200
900 120
1000 70
1100 45
1200 25
1300 15
1400 10
1500 6 2. Use your graph to find the
1600 4 half life of your substance.
1700 2
3. Compare your calculated half life with the
1800 1
1900 1 table of known values.
2000 1
4. Which element do you have?

5. The count rate of your element drops to almost zero when paper is placed between the

source and the Geiger–Müller tube. Time (Years)

Use this information to write the decay equation for your element.

Example Decay Equations:

238 234 4
U  Th + α
92 90 2

60 60 0
Co  Ni + β-
27 28 -1
Half Life Challenge
Different elements have different half lives. In this activity you will identify when element you

have by calculating the half life and matching it to known values.

Time (Years) Activity (Bq) A Geiger-Müller tube is used to record the activity of a
0 10000 sample over a period of time. The results are shown in the
5000 5440 table.
10000 2960
15000 1610
20000 880
25000 480
30000 260
Activity (Bq)
35000 140
1. Plot a graph of your data.
40000 80
45000 40
50000 25
55000 10
60000 7
65000 4
70000 2
75000 1 2. Use your graph to find the
80000 1 half life of your substance.

3. Compare your calculated half life with the

table of known values.

4. Which element do you have?

5. The count rate of your element is unaffected when paper is placed between the source and

Time (Years)
the Geiger–Müller tube, but drops to almost zero when 5 mm aluminium is used.

Use this information to write the decay equation for your element.

Example Decay Equations:

238 234 4
U  Th + α
92 90 2

60 60 0
Co  Ni + β-
27 28 -1
Half Life Challenge

Different elements have different half lives. In this activity you will identify when element you

have by calculating the half life and matching it to known values.

Time (Seconds) Activity (Bq) A Geiger-Müller tube is used to record the activity of a
0 10000 sample over a period of time. The results are shown in the
100 5670 table.
200 3210
300 1820
400 1030
500 580
600 330
Activity (Bq)
700 190
1. Plot a graph of your data.
800 105
900 60
1000 35
1100 20
1200 10
1300 6
1400 4
1500 2 2. Use your graph to find the
1600 1 half life of your substance.
1700 1
3. Compare your calculated half life with the
1800 1
1900 1 table of known values.
2000 1
4. Which element do you have?

5. Particle tracks in a magnetic field indicate this element emits a positively charged particle

which is much smaller than an alpha particle, but the same sizeTime
as an(Seconds)
electron.

Use this information to write the decay equation for your element.

Example Decay Equations:

238 234 4
U  Th + α
92 90 2

60 60 0
Co  Ni + β-
27 28 -1
Half Life Challenge

Different elements have different half lives. In this activity you will identify when element you

have by calculating the half life and matching it to known values.

Time (Years) Activity (Bq) A Geiger-Müller tube is used to record the activity of a
0 10000 sample over a period of time. The results are shown in the
60 6230 table.
120 3890
180 2420
240 1510
300 940
360 590
Activity (Bq)
420 360
1. Plot a graph of your data.
480 260
540 140
600 90
660 55
720 35
780 20
840 13
900 8 2. Use your graph to find the
960 5 half life of your substance.
1020 3
3. Compare your calculated half life with the
1080 2
1140 1 table of known values.
1200 1
4. Which element do you have?

5. The count rate of your element drops to almost zero when paper is placed between the source and
the Geiger–Müller tube. Use this information to write the decay equation for your element.
Time (Years)

Example Decay Equations:

238 234 4
U  Th + α
92 90 2

60 60 0
Co  Ni + β-
27 28 -1
Half Life Challenge
Different elements have different half lives. In this activity you will identify when element you

have by calculating the half life and matching it to known values.

Time (Years) Activity (Bq) A Geiger-Müller tube is used to record the activity of a
0 10000 sample over a period of time. The results are shown in the
10 5610 table.
20 3150
30 1770
40 990
50 560
60 310
Activity (Bq)
70 175
1. Plot a graph of your data.
80 100
90 55
100 30
110 15
120 10
130 5
140 3
150 2 2. Use your graph to find the
160 1 half life of your substance.
170 1
3. Compare your calculated half life with the
180 1
190 1 table of known values.
200 1
4. Which element do you have?

5. The count rate of your element is unaffected when paper is placed between the source and

Time (Years)
the Geiger–Müller tube, but drops to almost zero when 5 mm aluminium is used.

Use this information to write the decay equation for your element.

Example Decay Equations:

238 234 4

92
U  90
Th + α
2

60 60 0

27 28 -1
Co  Ni + β-
Half Life Challenge

Different elements have different half lives. In this activity you will identify when element you have
by calculating the half life and matching it to known values.

Time (Days) Activity (Bq) A Geiger-Müller tube is used to record the activity of a
0 10000 sample over a period of time. The results are shown in the
100 6050 table.
200 3660
300 2220
400 1340
500 810
600 490
Activity (Bq)
700 300
1. Plot a graph of your data.
800 180
900 110
1000 65
1100 40
1200 25
1300 15
1400 9
1500 5 2. Use your graph to find the
1600 3 half life of your substance.
1700 2
3. Compare your calculated half life with the
1800 1
1900 1 table of known values.
2000 1
4. Which element do you have?
5. The count rate of your element drops to almost zero when paper is placed between the source

and the Geiger–Müller tube. Time (Days)

Use this information to write the decay equation for your element.

Example Decay Equations:

238 234 4
U  Th + α
92 90 2

60 60 0
Co  Ni + β-
27 28 -1
Half Life Challenge

Different elements have different half lives. In this activity you will identify when element you have
by calculating the half life and matching it to known values.

Time (Days) Activity (Bq) A Geiger-Müller tube is used to record the activity of a
0 10000 sample over a period of time. The results are shown in the
3 5790 table.
6 3350
9 1940
12 1120
15 650
18 375
Activity (Bq)
21 215
1. Plot a graph of your data.
24 125
27 75
30 40
33 25
36 15
39 8
42 5
45 3 2. Use your graph to find the
48 2 half life of your substance.
51 1
3. Compare your calculated half life with the
54 1
57 1 table of known values.
60 1
4. Which element do you have?

5. The count rate of your element drops to almost zero when paper is placed between the

source and the Geiger–Müller tube. Time (Days)

Use this information to write the decay equation for your element.

Example Decay Equations:

238 234 4
U  Th + α
92 90 2

60 60 0
Co  Ni + β-
27 28 -1
Half Life Challenge

Different elements have different half lives. In this activity you will identify when element you have
by calculating the half life and matching it to known values.

Time (Seconds) Activity (Bq) A Geiger-Müller tube is used to record the activity of a
0 10000 sample over a period of time. The results are shown in the
60 5945 table.
120 3535
180 2100
240 1250
300 745
360 445
Activity (Bq)
420 260
1. Plot a graph of your data.
480 160
540 90
600 55
660 35
720 20
780 10
840 7
900 4 2. Use your graph to find the
960 2 half life of your substance.
1020 1
3. Compare your calculated half life with the
1080 1
1140 1 table of known values.
1200 1
4. Which element do you have?

5. The count rate of your element is unaffected when paper is placed between the source

Time
and the Geiger–Müller tube, but drops to almost zero when 5 mm (Seconds)
aluminium is used.

Use this information to write the decay equation for your element.

238 234 4
U  Th + α
92 90 2

60 60 0
Co  Ni + β-
27 28 -1