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# THE HALF-LIFE OF DICE

INTRODUCTION
The throwing of dice is a random event, the same as the decay of an atom is random. As a result, dice can
e used to simulate radioactive decay. To simulate radioactive decay, we need to !now when a die has
"decayed". The easiest way is to lac!en one of the faces on a wooden cue to re#resent a "decay".
\$hen the lac!ened face comes u# the die has %decayed& and is removed from the set.
AI'( to find the half)life of dice.
'*T+OD( Collect a o, of -. wooden cues. Chec! the cues to see that each cue has a lac!ened
face on it to identify the face for when decay occurs.
Throw the o, of dice into the corner of the room. Collect all the dice that have "decayed", i.e. the
lac!ened face is u##ermost. Count these "decayed" cues, record the numer and then #ut them aside.
Now throw the remaining cues into the corner, and re#eat this #rocess until there are no cues left.
To increase the accuracy of the e,#eriment, record the data from the other grou#s from the oard and
determine the totals.
T/0ICA1 R*2U1T2
3rou# 4 3rou#s 5, 6, 7 Total
Numer of throws No of dice decayed No of dice left
. . -. -., -., -. 5..
4 8 75 74, 77, 7. 49:
5 : 6- 69, 6:, 67 475
;U*2TION2
4. 0lot the Numer of cues left <last column= on / ) a,is against the Numer of throws <first column=
on > ) a,is.
5. Draw a smooth curve of est fit through the #oints.
6. i= Use your your gra#h and the tale elow to determine the half life. ?irst select a numer of
cues left and read off from your gra#h the value on throws a,is to reach this numer of
cues. Try to read the scale as accurately as #ossile, even to ..4 of a throw. Record the
ii= Now halve your numer of cues and find its value on the throws a,is and enter these
readings in the third and fourth columns.
iii= To find the half)life, sutract the values in the fourth and second columns and enter the
answer in the last column. This numer re#resents the numer of throws for the numer of
cues to halve.
iv= Do this e,ercise for three other starting numers and then find the average half life.
Numer of
cues left
@alue on throws
a,is for this
numer of cues
+alf this numer
of cues
@alue on throws
a,is for half this
numer of cues
Difference
etween the
values of throws
*,am#le 48. 4.7 A. 7.A 6.-
Average B
Using Excel
4. *nter tem#late
5. Use %?ill Down& with columns, A, C, 3
6. *nter data in columns, C, D, * and ?.
7. Draw a gra#h in >/ 2catter of Column 3 against Column A
A B C D E F G
1 Number of No of ice No of ice O!"er Grou#s To!\$l No
% T"ro&s ec\$'e lef! Dice Lef! Of Dice lef!
( . . -. BC6DD6D*6D?6
) 4 BC6)C7 BC7DD7D*7D?7
* 5 BC7)C-
+ 6
, 7
?inding the half life of dice using *,cel using %Trendline&.
4. 1eft Clic! on the data #oints to select them.
5. Now Right Clic! to show a menu and select %add Trendline&
6. 2elect %*,#onential&
7. O#en %O#tions& at the to# and select %Dis#lay eEuation on chart&, then close.
The eEuation will e of the form ' - +.. e
-./.*+x
. The numer in front of the %,& can e used to find the
half life. %t
4F5
& B ln<5= F Constant<in front of G,H=.