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CAGIS Clubhouse

Radioactive Food for Thought

Saturday, November 26, 2022

Many things in our world, including some foods, are naturally radioactive! Does that mean they’re dangerous? Not always – it depends on the amount of radioactivity. Together, we used candy and the periodic table to model radioactive isotopes and to build a model nuclear reactor to understand how they work.

Preparation: Material for the first session (7-12): 11 Mini-marshmallows (or 2 normal marshmallows cut in 8 pieces each), 4 jujubes (or other soft candy -all of the same colour), 92 plain M&Ms (or Skittles), 4 toothpicks, 1 sheet of paper, pencil.

Material for the second session (11-16):  1 transparent plastic cup, 4 Mini-marshmallows (or 1 normal marshmallow cut in 8 pieces), 1 can of 7-Up, 4 regular straws, 4 sticks of red licorice (Twizzlers Twists). Optional: 1 tsp of Baking powder, Nerds/Sprinkles candy to put inside the straws.

Experts: Barbara Francisco is an Adjunct Professor EES & Research Scientist at the Actinides Laboratory of the University of Ottawa. Erin Flannigan is a Ph.D. Candidate in Applied Nuclear Physics at the University of Ottawa.

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