The mathematics of inferring backwards from measurements to age is not appropriate for most students.They need only know that such calculations are possible. 79.) In this lesson, students will be asked to simulate radioactive decay by pouring small candies, such as plain M&M's® or Skittles®, from a cup and counting which candies fall with their manufacturer's mark down or up.
Have them go directly to the Nuclear Structure Systematics Home Page.
Once to that page, students should then go to the Isotope Discovery History, a graph of the number of known isotopes versus the date, and to the Chart of Aristotle and Plato (found at the bottom of the page), which the site planners cleverly call "the first chart" of isotopes.
Have students look at the Glossary of Nuclear Science Terms for alpha and beta decay.
Ask students to explain the terms in their own words.
"Today we will simulate radioactive decay to understand what we mean by half-life.
Radioactive decay, also known as radioactivity, is the spontaneous emission of radiation from the unstable nucleus of an atom." Have students go to the Isotopes Project website to look for more information about radioactive decay.
If you lived in a city where there had been a nuclear accident, you and your family might be exposed to strontium-90, which is the principal health hazard in radioactive fallout because it can easily get into the water supply or milk and then be ingested by people.
Write about how the strontium-90 might accumulate in your body (teeth and bones) and how it might affect you.
To do this lesson and understand half-life and rates of radioactive decay, students should understand ratios and the multiplication of fractions, and be somewhat comfortable with probability.