Rolling with Rutherford

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.

Materials

Contact quarknet-dataportfolio@fnal.gov for a different file format.

Class Time:

45 minutes

Data Strand:

Cosmic Ray
LHC

Level:

Level 1

NGSS Practices:

1
3
4
7

Topic:

Data Analysis
Measurement

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