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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.
This experiment is best used by student working in pairs.
Grade Level: 5-12 grade Disciplinary Core Ideas (DCI) 3-5ETS1-2, MS-ESS1-4, HS-ESS1-6 Time for Teacher Preparation 40-60 minutes – To gather materials Activity Time: 40-60 minutes (1 Class Period) Materials: Objectives Students try to model radioactive decay by using the scientific thought process of creating a hypothesis, then testing it through inference.
Description: With the Half-Life Laboratory, students gain a better understanding of radioactive dating and half-lives.
The half-life of a radioactive isotope refers to the amount of time required for half of a quantity of a radioactive isotope to decay.
The term is also used more generally to characterize any type of exponential or non-exponential decay.