Year 11 Extension Science Radioactivity field trip.
150 Year 11 extension science students recently attended a radioactivity field trip, taking place between the 17th - 20th of June, at the University of Canterbury. The trip was constructed of two parts, the first involved a visit of the biological sciences department and the second a visit of the physics departments Rutherford building.
In the biological sciences department, students were given an overview of a typical New Zealand marine ecosystem. This included a viewing of the aquarium and description of different fish species including snapper, cod, tarakihi, spottie, scarlet wrasse and a range of other species like sea tulips, paua, kina and sea slugs.
In the Rutherford building students learnt about various models of the atom from Dalton’s model through to our very own Ernest Rutherford’s atomic model. Both the Fukushima and Chernobyl nuclear disasters were discussed, then students determined how much radiation they would likely receive on an annual time frame, living in New Zealand. Lastly, experiments were conducted using radioactive sources to determine the penetration ability of Beta and Gamma radiation through biological tissue samples (slices of carrot), followed by finding the half-life of a copper isotope.