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Include your ideas about how its half-life of 28.8 years would be important.Suggest ways that government agencies, such as your state's department of health, might test for strontium-90.To demonstrate that the 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.This is the second lesson in a three-lesson series about isotopes, radioactive decay, and the nucleus.To help students understand the history of radioactivity, have them go to Radioactivity: Historical Figures, on the Access Excellence Classic Collection site, to read about the contributions of Wilhelm Roentgen, Antoine Becquerel, Marie and Pierre Curie, and Ernest Rutherford.As students read about these scientists, ask them to think about the following questions: Students can supplement this site with a visit to Isotopes Project.Have them go directly to the Nuclear Structure Systematics Home Page.
Games with manipulative or computer simulations should help them in getting the idea of how a constant proportional rate of decay is consistent with declining measures that only gradually approach zero.We know that radioactive substances disintegrate at a known rate, however. It is the length of time required for the disintegration of one-half of a given number of nuclei of a radioactive element. Suppose we have 100 nuclei of a radioactive isotope.After one half-life, half of the nuclei will have disintegrated, leaving 50 nuclei." Have students write their answers to these questions in their science journals.Before the lesson, you will have to weigh out about 80 candies for each group of students.
If you count ten and weigh them, then multiply by 8, you will know how many grams of candy to weigh out for each group.It may be combined with the Frosty the Snowman Meets His Demise: An Analogy to Carbon Dating, which can be done while students are flipping their candies.