Rolling with Rutherford

Long Description: 

Students will perform an experiment similar to Rutherford’s: they will fire a probe at a target and observe

how often the path of the probe changes. In this case, the “probe” and the “target” are balls and the “firing” is

replaced with “rolling.” They will use their data to calculate the diameter of the ball. The activity allows the

students to use indirect measurements to determine a parameter; it also allows the students to see how

Rutherford made his influential discovery. That discovery yielded today’s model of the atom.

Students use statistics to make an indirect measurement they can easily confirm.

Materials
Attributes
Class Time: 
45 minutes
Data Strand: 
Cosmic Ray
LHC
Level: 
Level 1
Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) Practices: 
1
3
4
7
Topic: 
Data Analysis
Measurement