Education Technology

Half-Life Lab

Activity Overview

This activity explains how students use a CBL2 and TI-83 or TI-84 calculator to collect and calculate the half-life of a barium isotope. Students will use an isogenerator to milk out a meta stable isotope of Barium with a short half-life. Using a radiation monitor linked to a CBL2, students run the VST APPS program and collect data for decay of Ba-137m.

Before the Activity

Students should understand the meaning of half-life and nuclear decay. It would be helpful if students have previous experience writing decay reactions as well as calculating half-life problems. AP Chemistry students should understand that nuclear decay is a first-order rate law.