Radioactive dating lesson plan
The second lesson, Radioactive Decay: A Sweet Simulation of Half-life, introduces the idea of half-life.
Grade Level: 5-12 grade Disciplinary Core Ideas (DCI) 3-5ETS1-2, MS-ESS1-4, HS-ESS1-6 Time for Teacher Preparation 40-60 minutes – To gather materials Activity Time: 40-60 minutes (1 Class Period) Materials: Objectives Students try to model radioactive decay by using the scientific thought process of creating a hypothesis, then testing it through inference.See the background information on Students will use half-life properties of isotopes to determine the age of different "rocks" and "fossils" made out of bags of beads.Through this simulation, they will gain an understanding of how scientists are able to use isotopes such as U-235 and Pb-207 to determine the age of ancient minerals. Science helps drive technology, as it addresses questions that demand more sophisticated instruments and provides principles for better instrumentation and technique.Scientist Britt Argow talks with teacher Joe Reilly about how scientists can determine the approximate age of a rock: comparing the relative abundance of naturally-occurring radioactive elements to their decay products.Radioactive elements break down over time into another element at a known rate, called a "half-life." The "half-life" is the amount of time it takes for half of the radioactive element to change into another element.Matter is made of minute particles called atoms, and atoms are composed of even smaller components.
These components have measurable properties, such as mass and electrical charge.
It is a great introduction to the scientific process of deducing, forming scientific theories, and communicating with peers.
It is also useful in the mathematics classroom by the process of graphing the data.
By extension, this experiment is a useful analogy to radioactive decay and carbon dating.
Students use M&M’s (or pennies and puzzle pieces) to demonstrate the idea of radioactive decay.
Description: With the Half-Life Laboratory, students gain a better understanding of radioactive dating and half-lives.