Radioactive dating lab

Popcorn popping is a great analogy for the spontaneity of radioactive decay.It is impossible to predict which kernel will pop first.It helps students to understand the unpredictability of decay. I usually perform it after I have introduced radioactive decay and talked about how it works.It only takes a few minutes and I usually talk while I am waiting for the "decay" to happen. Students use M&Ms to demonstrate the idea of radioactive decay. Parent isotopes are represented by the M side up (radioactive). Paul, MN, based on an original activity retrieved from also with the help of Jenni Johansen (other 8th grade science teacher at So. Paul Junior High School In this activity, students gain a better understanding of radioactive dating and half-lives.

Students begin by pouring the 100 M&Ms on the table, and set aside the "stable" isotopes (M side down).Skills: -critical thinking -data analysis -questioning -graphing and data collecting Vocab Words: 1. This activity can be adapted for older students, but is used in an 8th grade earth science classroom.Class size can vary, but activity should be done in groups of 2-3.This activity would also be easy to adapt when talking about half-lives within a chemistry course. Also, review what a half-life is (info given the day prior during lecture/ notes/ reading).New information needed to be introduced with parent and daughter isotopes.

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