ANSTO scientists have released a selection of their research data for use in the classroom. The data is sourced directly from real scientific investigations. Each data set is accompanied by a worksheet that can form the basis of a series of classroom activities. Teachers can email the Discovery Centre (firstname.lastname@example.org) for a copy of the answers.
Radionuclides in medicine
Radionuclides have been used routinely in medicine for more than 60 years. Nuclear medicine uses radiation to provide information about the functioning of a person's specific organs to diagnose or treat disease. The radionuclides used in medicine have half-lives ranging from a few minutes to several days in order to minimise the radiation dose the patient receives. For three unknown medical radionuclides, students will graph their decay over time, use the graph to calculate their half-life, and determine the identify and use of each radionuclide using background information provided.
Historic greenhouse gas concentrations from Antarctic ice core sampling
ANSTO Physicist Andrew Smith collaborates with international scientists to study historical greenhouse gas concentrations from Antarctic ice core samples. This data set contains temperature records and concentrations of carbon dioxide and methane from the last 800,000 years.
Monitoring air pollution and traffic density in Sydney
ANSTO Environmental Researcher Scott Chambers uses a naturally-occurring radioactive gas called Radon-222 to trace sources of pollution in the atmosphere. This data set contains hourly observations of meteorology, trace gas pollutants, Radon-222 concentration and traffic density collected from Western Sydney University (Richmond campus) in 2016.
Monitoring fine particle air pollution in Newcastle
ANSTO has been measuring and characterising fine particle pollution from key sites around Australia for more than 30 years. This data set provides records from 1998 to 2019 of the concentration of 12 elements present in fine airborne particulate matter from an air sampling station located in Mayfield in Newcastle, NSW.
Air pollution from combustion processes in Newcastle
Combustion reactions in vehicles, household woodfires and coal-fired power plants all result in fine particle air pollution in the air we breathe. ANSTO has been measuring and characterising fine particle pollution from key sites around Australia for more than 30 years. This data set provides records from 1998 to 2019 of the concentration of 12 elements present in fine airborne particulate matter from an air sampling station located in Mayfield in Newcastle, NSW.
Investigating radiation in the air we breathe
Radioactive radon gas is a decay product of uranium and thorium, which are found naturally in rocks, soil and building materials. Radon is a significant component of background radiation and can accumulate in poorly ventilated indoor environments. In this data set, we investigated the effect of charging a balloon, which was then hung in an enclosed space, on its level of radioactivity. Students will write a hypothesis, graph data, write a conclusion and use provided information to answer questions about radioactivity and radon, experimental design, accuracy, validity and reliability.
Aligning Taipan, one of ANSTO's neutron scattering instruments
Scientists ensure their measurements are accurate and precise by regularly calibrating their instruments. In this data set, students manipulate and graph calibration data from Taipan, one of ANSTO's neutron scattering instruments. Students must determine whether Taipan is functioning within the acceptable limits of error for the scientists' experiments.