Its a bit difficult not to mention dangerous to use strong radiation sources in the classroom and give the students real experience to radioactive decay. Here's a quick way to give students an opportunity to design and complete an investigation about the distance between a radiation source and the intensity of radiation.
The objective of the lesson is for students to learn about the relationship between distance and intensity of radiation, and also to consider the many sources of radiation in our environment and their effect on our health. Also, students will practice clearly communicating scientific results in the form of a lab report.
Students will perform some background research, and then remotely operate the equipment at the radiation lab at the University of Queensland in Australia to test their hypothesis. All of this is available for free for all high school students. Its a great resource!
Step 1: Background Research
This activity uses ionizing radiation and also discusses non-ionizing radiation so before beginning the experiment I ask students to research the difference between the two types of radiation and to identify several sources of each in our society. During the course of this research students also encounter many of the vocabulary terms that are used in this activity.