Radioactive Speed Dating [PhET]

The Lessons of Phyz
Grade Levels
7th - 12th, Higher Education, Adult Education, Homeschool
Resource Type
Formats Included
  • Google Drive™ folder
  • Internet Activities
2 Student Pages & 2 Key Pages
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The Lessons of Phyz
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  1. In the NGSS Three-Course Model, Physics of the Universe is divided into six instructional segments. Segment 4 is Nuclear Processes: Students develop a model of the internal structure of atoms and then extend it to include the processes of fission, fusion, and radioactive decay. They apply this model
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This exercise in radiometric dating is built around PhET's Radioactive Dating Game sim. As of this writing, the sim runs via CheerpJ (a Java emulator). PhET is in the process of recoding their simulations to HTML5.

Students enjoy the competitive/puzzle-solving aspect of this activity. This activity can be completed in about half an hour: once students get the hang of it, they tend to speed through the activity. And they enjoy a sense of accomplishment when they have filled their screen with “smilies.”

That doesn't mean there are no challenges. Carbon dating doesn't work for everything, and U-238 dating only gets you so far.

Total Pages
2 Student Pages & 2 Key Pages
Answer Key
Teaching Duration
30 minutes
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