Radiometric dating activity answers

As far as mastery of content, this activity is done in our rocks and minerals unit.

Students should have some prior knowledge of rocks and how they are dated. Materials Needed: -100 M&Ms (per group) -Notebook -Piece of Paper -Plastic Container with a Lid Lesson should be introduced by reviewing the 2 broad ways scientists age rocks (relative dating and radioactive dating).

Once all groups finish, each group records their info on the class decay table (on the board) and we calculate the averages of the class. Isotope Concepts: Students should begin to see the pattern that each time they dump out their M&Ms, about half become stable.

They will only re shake the radioactive M&Ms each time. Once they are finished with their 8 runs, they will record their data on the class data table (which can be on the board).

Once all groups data is on the table, you can calculate the average for each run (1-8) and determine a class average.

Once this is done, students have some post questions they are given that they should record in their science notebook.

Adapted from: For Special Ed and ELL kids, you could give them a template of the data table/graph.

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.

This activity would also be easy to adapt when talking about half-lives within a chemistry course. Also, review what a half-life is (info given the day prior during lecture/ notes/ reading).

New information needed to be introduced with parent and daughter isotopes.

The first post question caused some confusion: Why didn't each group get the same results?

A lot of the students said because they shook the containers differently... I also have students wash their hands before the activity, because of course after, the students eat the M&Ms. Radioactive decay and half-lives can be a very difficult concept for our 8th graders to grasp.

Teaching about Earth's history is a challenge for all teachers.

Tags: , ,