Classroom Activities / Downloads

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Below you will find some ideas how to introduce particle physics in your classroom in a hands-on way. These activities are normally developed by students joining the S’Cool LAB team for their masters’ thesis from all over the world, therefore not all material is available in English. However, we are currently working on English summary papers and will upload them as soon as possible.

Cloud Chamber

Cloud Chamber

The cloud chamber was one of the first particle detectors. Today, cloud chambers are only used in education. It is very easy to build a cloud chamber with everyday material, dry ice, and Isopropyl alcohol. Below we provide a DIY manual including many information on how to interpret the observations, and what do with cloud chamber (e.g. using balloons as radioactive sources).


ATLAS Magnet Model

Cloud Chamber

The ATLAS detector, the largest particle detector at the LHC, is one the most complex machines ever built. However, due to its complexity, explaining the ATLAS detector at a high-school level can be challenging. Below, we show how to use 3D printers (or straws & cardboard) to build a model of the toroidal ATLAS magnet system. We also suggest learning activities for the physics classroom.


Model for 3D printing: Build your own functional model of the ATLAS toroidal magnet system

Model with straws: Build a model of the toroidal ATLAS magnet system with everyday material

Bubble chamber pictures for the classroom

Bubble Chamber

Bubble chambers were the dominant experimental tools of particle physicists in the 1950s and 60s. They supplanted cloud chambers and lead to the Nobel Prize in Physics 1960. Bubble chambers and cloud chambers work in a very similar way. And although it is not possible to build a bubble chamber in the classroom, students can analyse bubble chamber tracks and learn more about particle identification, e.g. after having built and observed cloud chambers.

Woithe, J., Schmidt, R., Naumann, F. (2018). Student worksheet & solutions: Bubble chamber pictures. docx, pdf (version 12-03-2018)

This worksheet is based on images recorded by the 2 m bubble chamber at CERN on 10 August 1972. The bubble chamber was exposed to a beam of protons from CERN’s proton synchrotron PS with a momentum of 24 GeV/c. The original pictures as well as the pictured with coloured tracks can be found online:

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