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.
A useful application of half-lives is radioactive dating.
This has to do with figuring out the age of ancient things.
Students should recognize each time the number should go down by appx half.
Then students take the class data and create a graph comparing the number of parent isotopes to the number of half-lives.
They not only enjoyed this activity, but they really gained a better understanding of it as well.
Scientists look at half-life decay rates of radioactive isotopes to estimate when a particular atom might decay.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.Once all groups finish, each group records their info on the class decay table (on the board) and we calculate the averages of the class. Isotope Concepts: Students should begin to see the pattern that each time they dump out their M&Ms, about half become stable.Once this info is calculated, students create a graph comparing the class average of parent isotopes to the number of half-lives. Students will be able to explain what a half-life of a rock is. Students will have a more in-depth understanding of what radioactive decay is. Students will understand how scientists use half-lives to date the age of rocks. Students then should be able to see the connection of the M&Ms and radioactive elements in rocks, and how scientists can determine the age of rocks by looking at the amount of radioactive material in the rock.It takes a certain amount of time for half the atoms in a sample to decay.