Study cosmic rays using data from school detectors

Link to the demonstrator: in English

Metadata:

Age: 14-17

Duration: 4 hours

Equipment: PC with internet connection

Contact details

Author: Prof. Christine Kourkoumelis, Stelios Vourakis (IASA)
Contact: info[at]frontiers-project[dot]eu

Overview

This scenario explains what cosmic rays are and how they interact with the earth’s atmosphere. It talks about the different origins of cosmic rays in respect to their energy, what they are made of and how those particles end up producing others inside the atmosphere. It explains how time dilation works according to the special theory of relativity and how that helps muons reach the earth’s surface. Then it explains how the students can use real data from cosmic ray detectors installed at schools all over the world make their own plots of muon lifetime.

 

 

Learning outcomes:

  1. Students learn about cosmic rays, what they are and where they come from
  2. They learn about how they interact with the atmosphere
  3. They learn how to use data and perform a simple analysis on them

 

Prior knowledge:

  • Elementary particles
  • Basic electromagnetism
  • Basic astronomy (solar system, galaxies etc.)

 

Concepts introduced:

 

  • Relativity

 

  • Particle collisions and interactions
  • Particle lifetime

 

Learning intentions:

By the end of this descriptor, students should be able to:

  • Understand what cosmic rays are and where they come from
  • Understand how relativity affects particle lifetime
  • Use existing data to study muon lifetime

 

Key activities:

  1. Videos and information to engage students
  2. QuarkNET data and analysis tool for muon lifetime study
  3. Student report and discussion

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