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360Science™: Natural Radiation

firewatch

In this lab students are investigating potassium-40. Potassium, one of the most abundant minerals on Earth, is present in most foods and is an essential element in the human body. It is also a major source of natural radiation. Students start by filling in a chart of their natural radiation exposure and compare that to the average exposure in the U.S. They then use a radiation detector to measure the activity of a 2 gram mass of potassium chloride.

Concepts

  • Radioactivity
  • Half-life
  • Nuclear decay