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.
If two nuclei have different masses, but the same atomic number, those nuclei are considered to be isotopes.
By extension, this experiment is a useful analogy to radioactive decay and carbon dating.
Students use M&M’s (or pennies and puzzle pieces) to demonstrate the idea of radioactive decay.
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Learn about different types of radiometric dating, such as carbon dating.
Understand how decay and half life work to enable radiometric dating.
Students are able to visualize and model what is meant by the half-life of a reaction.
Carbon-14 is radioactive and undergoes radioactive decay.
Radioactive materials contain some nuclei that are stable and other nuclei that are unstable.
Radiometric dating measures the decay of radioactive atoms to determine the age of a rock sample.
It is founded on unprovable assumptions such as 1) there has been no contamination and 2) the decay rate has remained constant.