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Students should recognize each time the number should go down by appx half.

Then students take the class data and create a graph comparing the number of parent isotopes to the number of half-lives.

As far as mastery of content, this activity is done in our rocks and minerals unit.

Students should have some prior knowledge of rocks and how they are dated. Materials Needed: -100 M&Ms (per group) -Notebook -Piece of Paper -Plastic Container with a Lid Lesson should be introduced by reviewing the 2 broad ways scientists age rocks (relative dating and radioactive dating).

Class size can vary, but activity should be done in groups of 2-3.The unstable or more commonly known radioactive isotopes break down by radioactive decay into other isotopes.Radioactive decay is a natural process and comes from the atomic nucleus becoming unstable and releasing bits and pieces.This method is useful for igneous and metamorphic rocks, which cannot be dated by the stratigraphic correlation method used for sedimentary rocks. Some do not change with time and form stable isotopes (i.e.those that form during chemical reactions without breaking down).

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