Saturday, July 18, 2015

Marie Curie

Einstein, Physicist, Conference, SolvayThanks to an article on the Makers google plus group, I got the idea for this math exercise.  This article on Marie Curie's possessions and what people must go through to access her radioactive papers.  It explains what she thought of some of the elements she studied and how casual her attitude was towards various radioactive elements.

Of course at this time, very little was known about radioactivity so when Marie and her husband worked with it, they used regular lab coats and even kept small amounts in their pockets.  So I bet you are wondering where I'm going with this. Think about it.  Radiation uses  the half life formula, so using the internet and a spread sheet programs,  students can:
Radiation, Symbol, Danger
1. Read the article and list the various radioactive  elements Marie Curie and her husband studied.
2.  Research the half life of each element listed in the article.
3.  Find out the "safe" levels for each element.
4.  Using a spread sheet, calculate how long it will take for the radioactive item to become safe.
5.  Research exposure rates for each element.
6.  Use spread sheet to calculate the exposure rates needed for people to become sick and die.
7.  Create graphs to present the data.
8.  Create a write up on the information.

Nice real life mathematics calculations.  In addition they get some science about radiation and they learn more about Madame Curie who was one of my hero's growing up.