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View Resource How Does Radioactive Decay Work?

This teacher's guide with exercises is intended to help teach the topics of radioactive decay and its use to determine age. It identifies four main concepts that students are likely to struggle with: spontaneity (randomness) of radioactive decay; the importance of isotopes; the concept of half-life; and how to choose which system of isotopes to use to determine age. The guide presents suggestions...

View Resource Dust to Dust: The Carbon Cycle

This case study examines the carbon cycle: from carbon becoming carbon dioxide, to carbohydrate, to animals, then back to carbon dioxide again. Chemistry topics like atomic structures, carbon isotopes, radiocarbon dating, beta decay, half-life and photosynthesis are explained. The case study and teaching notes may be downloaded in PDF format. The site also includes a section for instructor...

View Resource Half-Life: The Energizer Bunny Effect

The Materials Science and Technology Teacher's Workshop (MAST) provides this activity to illustrate the principles of half-life. The laboratory is effective in showing the half life of radioactive substances. The application pertains to the length of storage necessary for radioactive materials. This is accomplished using M&M's and a box, shaking the box and removing the remaining ones with label...

View Resource Nuclear Decay

This lesson provides an overview of basic atomic structure and the concept of radioactive decay. Topics include the particles that make up an atom, binding forces, and the concept of isotopes. There is also discussion of decay methods and half-life versus activity. The lesson includes an activity in which students use online applets to investigate the half-life and activity of selected isotopes...

View Resource ABC's of Nuclear Science

Produced by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, the ABC's of Nuclear Science site gives high school students and perhaps even entry level college students a good general overview of nuclear science. Through descriptions and illustrations, students get to explore nuclear structure; radioactivity; alpha, beta, and gamma decay; half-life; reactions; fusion; fission; cosmic rays; and...

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