It's Electric!

How can you study a particle that rarely interacts with matter? Learn how DUNE, an international mega-science project, uses the electromagnetic force to shed light on the elusive nature of neutrinos.

Curriculum module tags

Grade level

Content area

Time required

A minimum of nine 50-minutes sessions

Curriculum module media

Interior protodune
Image: Symmetry Magazine

During this unit students discover how the electromagnetic force is involved in neutrino detection in the Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment (DUNE) detectors to be installed nearly one mile underground at the Sanford Underground Research Facility. Investigations begin with exploring the ghost-like nature of neutrinos, progress to explaining how scientists detect particles that rarely interact with matter, and conclude with students evaluating the choice of liquid argon as the detector medium and the overall merit of this international mega-science project.

It’s Electric!

Curriculum Standards

  • 9-12-ETS1-3

    Evaluate a solution to a complex real-world problem based on prioritized criteria and trade-offs that account for a range of constraints, including cost, safety, reliability, and aesthetics as well as possible social, cultural, and environmental impacts.

  • HS-PS2-4

     Use mathematical representations of Newton’s Law of Gravitation and Coulomb’s Law to describe and predict the gravitational and electrostatic forces between objects.

  • HS-PS2-6

    Communicate scientific and technical information about why the molecular-level structure is important in the functioning of designed materials.

  • HS-PS3-5

    Develop and use a model of two objects interacting through electric or magnetic fields to illustrate the forces between objects and the changes in energy of the objects due to the interaction.