I'm looking for some interesting activities regarding nuclear physics in high school.

I already have: - building a cloud chamber with dry ice or peltier modules - simulating radioactive decay with dice - simulating Rutherford's experiment hitting with glass marbles a hidden target and trying to figure out the shape

Any fun/didactic/interesting/innovative idea?


  • $\begingroup$ At my community college we have a lab we do with 137Cs elution sources and Geiger counters: lightandmatter.com/lab_206.pdf . Microcurie sources are relatively cheap, you can ship them through US mail, and they can be disposed of by throwing them in the trash. $\endgroup$ – user4552 Jan 20 '18 at 22:39

A short answer, but if I can think of any more I will edit this:

The standard from TV shows, a chain reaction with ping pong balls and mousetraps https://youtu.be/0v8i4v1mieU


It's a bit dated, but when I was a teenager, the hands down best source was the Amateur Scientist column in Scientific American by C. L. Stong. It is not available in book form at https://archive.org/details/TheAmateurScientist

See the chapter titled A Homemade Atom Smasher (As I said, a bit dated...) For less than the average cost of a set of golf clubs you can equip yourself for playing with electrons - and learn much first hand about the structure of matter.

Or The Millikan Oil-Drop experiment. Suspend a drop of oil in mid-air by means of electrostatic attraction - and you can accurately measure the charge on a single electron.


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