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Dirty Bomb

Ideas from Teachers


(Gr. 11-12)
Objective
To show the damage done with a dirty bomb.


Materials

  • film canister
  • baking soda and vinegar
  • pipette
  • colored chalk
  • area map

Procedure
The film canister represents the bomb case, the baking soda and vinegar represent the bomb explosives, and the colored chalk represents the radioactive material.

Supply each team with one area map and film canister. Each team locates an area on the map and places the film canister on the location and traces a circle around the canister. This represents the initial damage and explosion area.

Then each team flakes off colored chalk and mixes it with the baking soda until a consistent color is achieved. The mixture is placed inside the canister with just enough to cover the bottom.

Then 5 milliliters of vinegar is added quickly to the canister with a pipette. The canister is held tightly closed and placed upside down on the map inside the circle drawn. After a few seconds, an explosion will occur. At this point, the students check to see where the chalk is found. They draw concentric circles around the original canister and determine the distance affected by the explosion of the bomb.


Follow-up questions

  1. How would wind speed and direction affect the outcome?

  2. How much of the city would have to be evacuated?

  3. What roads would be used? Which areas would be the easiest to exit? the hardest?

  4. How easy would it be for emergency teams to respond? Where is the nearest hospital?


Assessment
Each team presents the experiment and results to the class. Are the affected areas similar? Was the location important? Could a plan be devised to help people in such an event?


Classroom Tips
Film canisters can be obtained from photo development shops. Just label a sealable plastic bag with your name, ask shop personnel to throw the canisters there instead of the garbage, and pick up the supply later. (Christmas is an excellent time for this.)

Students may need to practice loading the canister with the baking soda and vinegar in order to achieve the desired result.

Sent in by
Laura V. Petit
Archbishop Shaw High School
Marrero, LA


Teacher's Guide
Dirty Bomb
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