Paper, Order, or Assignment Requirements
This is a mini version of the lab report consisting of a 1-2 sentence summary of EACH main section arranged in same order as the main report. It is designed to allow a busy reader to quickly understand what the report is about without having to read the whole report. It should be at least 4-5 sentences long. Do it at the end when you have completed most of the report.
You need to go into the background of the report and explain clearly and in some detail what is radioactivity, half-life, the randomness of the decay process. I have given you some links to help you here.
You also need to explain why you are using coins to model radioactive decay and how tossing a coin can be related to half-life of a radioactive isotope in your model.
Also you need to clearly say what you expect to happen (hypothesis) in Lab 1. Also what do you expect to happen (hypothesis) in Lab 2 (for example how many coins should you expect to “decay” on the first throw, how many throws should it take to get to 2/1/0 coins left).
Explain why in Lab 2 did you change from 200 coins to 16 coins? In lab2 what does 3 throws represent? why will you not keep throwing in each trial until you get 0 coins left?
Clearly explain what you did in each lab. Leave out irrelevant information like how many in your group, names etc. What you need is enough information about the equipment, procedures and what data you recorded for a stranger to be able to repeat your two experiments exactly. Don’t assume the reader was there! The instructions you were given to do the experiments are a good place to start from. Using bullet points may help you keep your method clear.
Results and Discussion:
You can present results then discuss separately or interleave results with your discussion.
Discuss Lab 1: are the results what you expected. Discuss the shape of the coins left “decay” curve. Does it prove your hypothesis? Can you see any difference between the start and end of the curve? How is the coins left “decay” curve related to the curve for accumulated coins decayed? You could use radioactivity theory to draw a predicted shape for lab 1 and compare with your own.
Discuss Lab 2: are the two bar graphs and two calculated results what you expected?
Discuss the shape of the bar graphs. Do you know what theses shapes are called? Where did the peaks occur? Is this what you expected? Were the size of the peaks what you expected?
Perhaps discuss and compare some specific trials that backup your hypotheses or go against them.
In radioactive decay you do not know which particular atom is going to decay, but you know that a certain percentage are going to decay in a given amount of time. Do these labs show this kind of decay?
Talk about randomness and probability (I have given you some links to read) and how it comes into your experiments.
You could use probability theory to analysis your results or compare with what was expected.
What human and physical errors that may have affected your results? (Ideas: miss-counting, are all coins the same? the effect of the arm in the box, do different people shake the box differently?) How did you try to mitigate against these? How would you do different next time?
How you could improve your experiments or suggest a different method entirely to increase their accuracy and make the model a better model of what really happens.
If you could eliminate all human and physical errors from your experiments will it make a difference to your results? Or would the randomness and probability still be significant factor?