Practical questions

You will complete 12 Specified Practical Activities if you are studying GCSE Physics. You could be asked questions about the apparatus, methods, safety precautions, results, analysis and evaluation of these experiments.

There are no specified practicals for this topic 'Atomic structure.' But sometimes a dice analogy is used as a practical.

Sample question 1 - Foundation and Higher


A class of 10 students each perform the same experiment with dice to investigate radioactive decay. The dice, which represent radioactive atoms, are thrown together onto the floor. Those that show a six are removed. These represent the atoms whose nuclei have decayed. The remaining dice (un-decayed atoms) are thrown again and the process is repeated several times.

The students each start with 60 dice.

a) i) Predict how many of the 60 dice should show a “six” on the first throw. [1 mark]

ii) State why the students cannot predict which dice will show a "six". [1 mark]

b) The results of the experiments are shown in the table below. A mean value is calculated for each throw using the data from each student.

Table showing throw number against dice remaining (groups), with a column showing the mean at the end. Titled as Radioactive decay - Dice analogy.

i) Why is it better to calculate the mean value from the 10 experiments rather than use the data from one experiment? [2 marks]

ii) Plot the results on some graph paper and draw a suitable line. [3 marks]

iii) Use your graph to find the half-life, in number of throws, for the dice. [2 marks]

Question courtesy of Eduqas.

a) i) 10 [1]

ii) It is random [1]

b) i) This will give the best estimate of the true value [1]. It will also make the experiment more reliable [1].

ii) Plot points, to get a smooth exponential curve.

Graph plotting number of throws against number of atoms remaining. Downward slopping curve with the title, dice model for radioactive decay.


iii) Approximately 4 [2]