Radioactive dating lab with mms

Learn about different types of radiometric dating, such as carbon dating.

Understand how decay and half life work to enable radiometric dating.

Play a game that tests your ability to match the percentage of the dating element that remains to the age of the object.

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.

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The mathematics of inferring backwards from measurements to age is not appropriate for most students.

They need only know that such calculations are possible. 79.) In this lesson, students will be asked to simulate radioactive decay by pouring small candies, such as plain M&M's® or Skittles®, from a cup and counting which candies fall with their manufacturer's mark down or up.

The exercise they will go through of predicting and successively counting the number of remaining "mark-side up" candies should help them understand that 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 lesson can be done in two, 45-minute class periods.

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.

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