Radioactivity in Everyday Life
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Summary of Activity:

Put together a kit of everyday objects that are naturally or man-made radioactive or are made using radioactive sources for demonstrations to groups of all ages.

Estimated Prep Time:
Estimated Activity Time:
Estimated Total Hours:
  • Nuclear 101
Target Audience:
  • General Public
  • Primary School Students
  • Professionals or Adults
  • Secondary School Students
  • University Students
Submission Type:
Activity Type:
Activity or Demonstration
Detailed Description and Instructions:

Collect a simple Geiger counter and as many radioactive materials as desired. Use the Geiger counter at demonstrations to show how the radioactivity levels vary among the materials. The message of the demo is that radiation and radioactivity is all around us. It is part of everyday life. Even you are radioactive!

Once the materials are collected, it is as easy as keeping them in a box for easy transport to and from events.

Ideas for what to include in your kit:

Geiger counter
Smoke detectors with americium sources
Old watches and clocks with radium dials
Uranium-glazed ceramics (e.g., Fiestaware, bathroom tiles)
Vaseline/uranium glass
Food (e.g., a plastic play banana, brazil nuts,
Gas lantern mantles
Thorium welding rods
Low sodium salt
Objects that are irradiated to disinfect (e.g., makeup, bandages)
Paper products (e.g., sandpaper) that are manufactured using radioactive gauges

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