Overview: This is a lab I created for students to learn about the general process of radiocarbon decay, including how to determine the age of a suitable object when given the proper information. This lab is different from other radioactive decay labs in that it is a discovery lab. Students figure out the pattern of how carbon-14 decays into nitrogen-14, as opposed to being told the pattern. I have found this process, of student discovery, has been a more powerful way to teach the understanding of radioactive decay – in particular, the idea of a half-life.
What you Get:
* Student Copy of Lab
* Teacher Copy of Lab with answer key
Lab Break Down:
Page 1: Purpose and learning targets for lab
Page 2 - 5: Discovery portion of lab
Page 6: Synthesis of Goal 1.
Page 7: Simple class activity to demonstrate limitations of radioactive decay.
Page 8 - 10: Calculations and visuals to model the decay of 0 through 5 half-lives.
Page 11: Synthesis of Goal 2 in lab.
Page 12-14: Activity requiring students to use both the standard ratios learned about in the lab to determine age of a sample, as we well as analyzing a graph.
Page 15: Page to jot down notes and questions.