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Description: With the Half-Life Laboratory, students gain a better understanding of radioactive dating and half-lives.

Students are able to visualize and model what is meant by the half-life of a reaction.

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 then should be able to see the connection between the M&M’s and Puzzle Pieces and radioactive elements in archaeological samples.

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.

NGSS Guided Inquiry Explain about radiation and half-lives of isotopes.

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.

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