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Half-Life Labs with M & M's, Licorice, and plain Paper

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773 KB|15 pages
Product Description
This product includes two versions of my M&M half-life laboratory activity. One version is a more traditional Earth Science radioactive dating lab. The other is slightly more advanced Physics inquiry based lab that requires the use of a graphing calculator, like the TI-83 or TI-84. Both versions allow for hands-on examination as in this lab, students will experiment with a half-life model in which M&M candies represent radioactive "m&mium" atoms. The imprinted "M" on each candy represents whether the atom has become stable or not.

This product also includes half-life licorice lab. Students use licorice to demonstrate the idea of radioactive decay. Students should begin to see the pattern that each time they “take a half-life,” about half of the surrogate radioactive material (Twizzlers) becomes stable. Students then should be able to see the connection between the M&M’s and radioactive elements in archaeological samples. Seeing this connection will help students to understand how scientists can determine the age of a sample by looking at the amount of radioactive material in the sample.

Lastly, this product includes a half-life lab that can be done on scratch paper. Students gain a better understanding of radioactive dating and half-lives each time the paper is ripped in half. Students are able to visualize and model what is meant by the half-life of a reaction.
Total Pages
Answer Key
Teaching Duration
45 minutes
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