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Grade Level: 7th - 8th; Type: PhysicsConstruct a model of radioactive decay
- What is radiation?
- What is nuclear medicine?
- What is decay rate?
- What is an isotope?
- What is meant by the half life of a radioactive isotope?
- How is carbon- 14 dating used?
- What is meant by concept of probability?
- Do you think the use of coins and probability theory might or might not be effective in modeling radioactive decay?
- What is transmutation?
On the information level, the student will be using concrete, hands on model to demonstrate the meaning of half –life in the process of radioactive decay. The chances that a single atom of uranium -238 will decay during a one minute period are indeed very low. However, in contrast, the chances that an atom of polonium-214 will decay during one minute are very high.Every radioactive isotope has its own rate of decay. This rate is called and measured as a half life. A half life of an isotope is defined as the amount of time it takes for half of the atoms in the sample to decay. Half lives can be as short as milliseconds and as long as billions of years. For example, were we to examine lead-214, we would find a half life of 27 minutes. After the first 27 minute, we would find that we were left with some bismuth 214 as well as lead-214.
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