HR Diagram Activity (30 points)
Brief Overview of Activity: Use an HR diagram to learn about the differences between the stars in our stellar neighborhood and the brightest stars in the sky.
Required Items: this HR diagram, red & black ink pens.
On the HR diagram, plot each star from the “Brightest Stars Group” in black ink and then plot each star from the “Nearest Stars Group” in red ink. Data for both groups of stars can be found below.
Describe any differences between the two groups of stars – such as their location on the diagram, color, mass, and the types of stars in each group.
Which of the two groups of stars is most representative of the vast majority stars in the universe?
Brightest Stars Group
Nearest Stars Group
Alpha Centauri A
Alpha Centauri B
61 Cygni A
61 Cygni B
Radioactive Dating Activity (due at Stage 2) (30 points)
Brief Overview of Activity: Radioactive decay is one of the sources of the heat that drive the Earth’s geologic activity. Radioactive decay also allows us to date rocks and determine the age of the Earth and other solar system bodies.
Required Items: 36 coins, a calculator, pencil & paper.
In this activity you will simulate the radioactive decay of 36 atoms of a rare isotope of uranium, U-235. Uranium-235 has a half-life of 700 million years. Gather 36 coins and arrange them in a 6 x 6 grid with all of the coins facing heads up.
Flip each coin into the air and then place it back in its original location on the grid. This represents the passage of 1 half-life (700 million years for this example). The coins that came up heads represent atoms that have not yet decayed; the coins that came up tails represent atoms that have decayed. Record the number of heads below.
Next flip each one of the remaining heads-up coins once and place it back in its original location. 1.4 billion years have now passed by (2 x 700 million). Record the number of remaining heads below. Repeat this process until all coins are tails up.
_______ Original number of U-235 atoms
_______ Remaining number of U-235 atoms after 1st flip
_______ Remaining number of U-235 atoms after 2nd flip
Add additional lines as needed.
Questions:How many half-lives did it take for all of the atoms to decay? How many years does that equate to? Do you think everyone in class will get the same answer? Why?
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