Radioactivity half life carbon dating
Carbon-14 has a half-life of 5730 years, which means that if you take one gram of carbon-14, half of it will decay in 5730 years. The ratio of the amounts of carbon-12 to carbon-14 in a human is the same as in every other living thing.
After death, the carbon-14 decays and is not replaced.
The carbon-14 decays, with its half-life of 5,730 years, while the amount of carbon-12 remains constant in the sample.
By looking at the ratio of carbon-12 to carbon-14 in the sample and comparing it to the ratio in a living organism, it is possible to determine the age of a formerly living thing.
Students use M&Ms to demonstrate the idea of radioactive decay. Parent isotopes are represented by the M side up (radioactive).
Paul, MN, based on an original activity retrieved from also with the help of Jenni Johansen (other 8th grade science teacher at So. Paul Junior High School In this activity, students gain a better understanding of radioactive dating and half-lives.
The rate of decay is a fixed rate called a half-life.
The half-life of a radioactive isotope refers to the amount of time required for half of a quantity of a radioactive isotope to decay.
Radioactive materials contain some nuclei that are stable and other nuclei that are unstable.Students should begin to see the pattern that each time they “take a half-life,” about half of the surrogate radioactive material becomes stable.Students then should be able to see the connection between the M&M’s and Puzzle Pieces and radioactive elements in archaeological samples.It is a great introduction to the scientific process of deducing, forming scientific theories, and communicating with peers.
It is also useful in the mathematics classroom by the process of graphing the data.
By extension, this experiment is a useful analogy to radioactive decay and carbon dating.