The purpose of this 45-50 minute activity is to help middle school and high school students understand that radioactive decay is the tool used by scientists to find the age of very old objects.
For this activity students will use Half-Life graphs to determine the age of 6 "radioactive" samples that are put together by you, the teacher.
The goals of the activity are to:
•Teach students that unstable atoms release part of their nucleus to become more stable,
•Teach students how to read a Half-Life graph,
•Show students how scientists in the real world measure the age of old objects,
•Teach students that all meteorites are the same age, and that they can be used to determine the age of our Solar System.
While it is dangerous and nearly impossible to do a lab on radioactive decay, this activity is a fantastic alternative!
Good luck, and happy teaching!
Radioactive Decay Activity
by Skipper Coates
is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License