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They need only know that such calculations are possible. 79.) In this lesson, students will be asked to simulate radioactive decay by pouring small candies, such as plain M&M's® or Skittles®, from a cup and counting which candies fall with their manufacturer's mark down or up.

The exercise they will go through of predicting and successively counting the number of remaining "mark-side up" candies should help them understand that rates of decay of unstable nuclei can be measured; that the exact time that a certain nucleus will decay cannot be predicted; and that it takes a very large number of nuclei to find the rate of decay.

Typically, we do not even consider the negative x values because the x-axis typically represents time.

This lesson can be done in two, 45-minute class periods.Founded in 2002 by Nobel Laureate Carl Wieman, the Ph ET Interactive Simulations project at the University of Colorado Boulder creates free interactive math and science simulations.So, in our example , after the second life is over (that's 10 years since each half life is 5 years), there will be $$\frac 1 2$$ of $$ 50\% $$ of the substance left, which, of course is $$ 25 \% $$.And the pattern continues, every 5 years another half life reduces the substance by $$ \frac 1 2 $$, so after the the third life is over ( the 15 year mark), there will be $$\frac 1 2 $$ of $$ 25\% $$ of the substance left , which is $$ 12.5 \% $$.As you can see from Graph 2, the larger the coefficient the greater the 'starting amount'.

Conversely, the smaller coefficients lead to smaller/lower 'starting amounts'.I ask the students to divide themselves into partners, and request that one partner to get a computer, while the second partner gets the record sheet they will use.Although students could work through the simulation individually, I prefer partnerwork to foster discussion among students, encouraging scientific discourse (SP7).Rutherford applied the principle of a radioactive element's half-life to studies of age determination of rocks by measuring the decay period of radium to lead-206.Half-life is constant over the lifetime of an exponentially decaying quantity, and it is a characteristic unit for the exponential decay equation.If the half life is '3 years', then each tick mark on the graph represents 3 years.