Want your students to experience radioactive half-life and carbon dating without the risk of radioactive decay? Here is a great lesson and activity to do just that!
This resource is also part of my amazing, cost saving Physics Bundle
and the Nuclear Energy Enriched Bundle
A 2-page note with 2-pages of homework questions.
• graph a half-life curve (exponential decay)
• analyze this graph to determine key points along the decay curve
• be introduced to the half-life equation and variables
• perform an example with their teacher
• answer 4 half-life practice questions for homework
I like to fill in this note with the students using a document camera but this can also be done with an overhead projector. Full solutions are included. 3 files: the notes in PDF and editable
DOCX format, and the solutions in PDF format.
Modeling Carbon Dating
In this activity, students get “snapshots” of an unstable isotope decaying through pictures. By counting how many atoms have decayed into the stable isotope and graphing the results they will be able to determine the half-life of the unstable isotope. Students use their graph and their half-life value to answer related questions that give them additional practicing using the half-life equation.
This is different from most half-life activities or labs you will see on the internet. In those other activities they are flipping a coin or some candies and then graphing the results to show that the can create an exponential decay graph. This activity has purposefully chosen values that model the exponential decay graph, without giving away the obvious values (50%, 25%, etc.).
5 files: the handouts in PDF and editable
DOCX format, and the pictures, solutions and teachers guide all in PDF format.
Check out the Preview
above for a closer look!
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