Radioactive dating lab pennies

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Any pennies that land tails up are assumed to have "radioactively decayed" on this toss.

Stack the tails-up pennies into a column on the far side of the table.

For example, you can compare your graphs to that of a straight line, y = mx b, with y being the number of pennies in a column and x being the toss number of the column.

Obviously, you will have to see if you can find any values of m and b which fit your data.

the chance that an atom will decay in the next second is unaffected by the fact that it did not decay a second ago.

Clearly the number of atoms decaying in one second depends on the number of atoms you start with, but the chance of any individual atom decaying in a given time period is always the same.

Repeat the process until all pennies have landed tails up.

If no pennies are tails up on a particular toss, leave the column corresponding to that toss empty.

The lab procedure to mimic radioactive decay is simple. Toss the pennies onto a table surface or the floor.

Return the remaining heads up pennies to the box and toss them again onto the table surface.

Remove the tails up pennies and stack them into a second column right beside the first column.

Tupperware container (with top)*, 100 pennies, plastic cup, graph paper (one per student), rulers, handout (attached, one for each student), Periodic Table, tables of isotopic decay types and half-lives*I have found it works well to identify the isotope with a post-it on the top of each groups Tupperware container. These pennies represent those that have undergone radioactive decay. Count the heads up pennies that remain in the original container and record the number in the data table. Repeat steps 1-3 with the remaining pennies for 3 additional half-life periods.

Common isotopes to use are carbon-14, iodine-131, cobalt-60, hydrogen-3, strontium-90, and uranium-238, though any radioactive isotope with a known decay type and half-life can be used. Data: Data Analysis: On the graph paper provided, graph mass vs. Plot all points then connect them with line of best fit. Conclusions: 1) Write the nuclear decay equation for the radioisotope that you were given.

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