Radiometric dating lab
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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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Radiocarbon dates do not tell archaeologists exactly how old an artifact is, but they can date the sample within a few hundred years of the age.
It is also useful in the mathematics classroom by the process of graphing the data.
Not all of the atoms of a radioactive isotope (radioisotope) decay at the same time.
Rather, the atoms decay at a rate that is characteristic to the isotope.
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.