The half-life of the carbon-14 in your class should be 1 trial time (half of the students "atoms" should have decayed in each trial).You may wish to have your students convert theri trial numbers into years.You could have 1 trial = 10,000 years, for example.Then students can determine the half-life of the class carbon-14 in years. You may wish to repeat the class sampling again near the end of the hour to see what differences exist between the two smaplings.The teacher would then collect slips from each student with the decay plot of thier isotope.
This activity seeks to teach students the concept of half-life and radioisotope decay.
Students should name thier isotope, decide its half-life and plot its decay.
This part of the assessment could be completed as homework and give students practice both using the idea of half-life and graphing.
Student plots should show a half-life decay pattern as in the plots below: In the plot above, the number of remaining undecayed atoms has been converted to a mass, and the trial number has been converted to years.
The same pattern of decay should be visible in your class data. When students have created their plots discuss the results as a class.
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Have students work in pairs to plot the data on a graph.