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Math and Science Activities from Jefferson Lab


Scientist at Jefferson Lab study atoms using a machine called an electron accelerator. Jefferson Lab's accelerator produces a beam of fast moving electrons by passing them through hollow metal devices called cavities. An alternating sequence of electrical charges is created on the surface of the cavities and these charges accelerate the electrons. The cavities are arranged in two long, straight sections called Linear Accelerators. In this activity, students pass tennis balls down a line like Jefferson Lab's cavities 'pass' electrons down the Linear Accelerators.


In this activity students will:

- work as a team

- cooperate with their partners to complete a task

- pass tennis balls down a line of students to simulate a linear accelerator

- record the number of tennis balls that successfully made it to the end of the line

- calculate the fraction of tennis balls that successfully made it to the end of the line

- use division and multiplication to convert each fraction into a percent

- create a pie graph for each fraction

Minimum Materials Needed for Each Student Group:

- ~20 tennis balls

- 2 containers to hold the tennis balls

Human Accelerator materials
Materials for Human Accelerator

Citation and linking information

For questions about this page, please contact Steve Gagnon.