The Death of Frosty and Skittles Radioactivity

During this lab, we place Frosty the Snowman (ice cubes) in a funnel over a graduated cylinder to evaluate the rate at which he melted. We recorded the amount of water in the graduated cylinder every two minutes for a consecutive thirty minutes. Using this date we came to the conclusion Frosty was melting at a rate of .45mL every minute. We hypothesized that Frosty “met his demise” at around 9:21. WE came to this conclusion because he was melting at a rate of approximately 1 mL every 2 minutes. There were 24 mL before we started the lab and at the time we recorded this it was 10:29. After we hypothesized, we graphed our data table. The graph was a pretty constant linear slope giving a few variations.  

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RADIOACTIVE SKITTLES? 

In our Radioactive Decay lab, we were asked to gather 80 skittles and put them in a plastic cup. Then we were asked to shake the cup and then pour the skittles or “nuclei” onto a paper towel. We then counted the number of “radioactive nuclei” which were the skittles with the ‘s’ facing down. Next we returned the “radioactive nuclei” to the cup and repeated the process. About half the skittles each time would turn out to be “radioactive”, this served as the skittles’ half lives. We then placed our recorded data onto a class sheet which had all of the data the other lab partners got. After every lab group put in their data, we were able to calculate a class average. With the class average, we then created a graph. At first the graph was exponential. But, by manipulating the functions of the calculator and playing with the logs we were able to create a graph that was very close to linear. This was the major difference between this graph and Frosty’s. This was originally an exponential graph because the data decrease by one half each time. Frosty’s was a linear graph with a constant slope. The half life of the skittles consisted of the amount of time it took to go through the procedure each time. This includes the counting of the “radioactive nuclei” and the putting back into the cup. The linear relationship between the number of radioactive nuclei and the amount of tosses was because every time you would toss the skittles the amount of radioactive nuclei would decrease by one half. Each toss was the half life of the skittles. The amount of radioactive nuclei strictly depended on the amount of tosses and that is why they had a linear relationship.

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