Radioactive dating lesson activity

It may be combined with the Frosty the Snowman Meets His Demise: An Analogy to Carbon Dating, which can be done while students are flipping their candies.

In your planning, be sure to include time at the end of the lesson for students to post their data and share the class data.

"Today we will simulate radioactive decay to understand what we mean by half-life.

Radioactive decay, also known as radioactivity, is the spontaneous emission of radiation from the unstable nucleus of an atom." Have students go to the Isotopes Project website to look for more information about radioactive decay.

To demonstrate that the rates of decay of unstable nuclei can be measured, that the exact time that a certain nucleus will decay cannot be predicted, and that it takes a very large number of nuclei to find the rate of decay.

This is the second lesson in a three-lesson series about isotopes, radioactive decay, and the nucleus.

To do this lesson and understand half-life and rates of radioactive decay, students should understand ratios and the multiplication of fractions, and be somewhat comfortable with probability.

Games with manipulative or computer simulations should help them in getting the idea of how a constant proportional rate of decay is consistent with declining measures that only gradually approach zero.

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As students read about these scientists, ask them to think about the following questions: Students can supplement this site with a visit to Isotopes Project.Tell students: "We measure our rate of speed in a car in miles per hour.This method of measuring a rate won't work for radioactive decay.If they haven't changed their answers, ask them to explain why.In addition to using answers to students' analysis questions and their graphs for assessment, consider having them respond to the following in their science journals or as a homework assignment: Strontium is chemically similar to calcium.

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