Lesson Plans and Worksheets
Browse by Subject
- Leisa B., Teacher
- Newark, NJ
Radioactive Decay Teacher Resources
Find Radioactive Decay educational ideas and activities
Students explore radioactive decay. Through various activities, students examine methods for permanent disposal of radioactive waste. After performing a random process experiment, students compare the results to radioactive decay. They answer discussion questions regarding a demonstration of of material.
Mmmmm! Radioactive "candium!" Nuclear physics or chemistry classes use M&M'S® to demonstrate the process of radioactive decay. Individuals pour out a bag of candies and record the number that fall M-side-up to represent the number of atoms that have decayed. They repeat the process several times, removing decayed atoms. There are a data table, analysis questions, and a graphing assignment included. Of course, your young scientists will want to eat the candy when they are finished!
Students investigate the age of the earth by using accepted scientific methods. They conduct research about the use of radioactive dating and there is a simulation activity of the process. Finally, students measure the radioactive decay of actual rocks to estimate the actual age of the earth.
Students conduct a simulation to determine radioactive decay and half-life. Using pennies, dice or sugar cubes as isotopes placed in shoe boxes simulating rocks, they hold five trials representing 1000 years each to find the theoretical age for the remaining specimens that have not "decayed."
Students identify the importance of studying exponential decay. In this quadratic functions lesson plan, students simulate radioactive decay in small groups. Students also present the results found in the investigation and explain why an exponential decay function is an exponential function.
In this radioactive decay and half-life worksheet, students use given half-lifes to calculate the amount of time it will take for certain amounts of elements to decay. They also find the age of samples and determine how many grams of samples will remain in a given amount of time.
Students explore what radioactive decay is and are able to relate it to the concept of half-life. They are given 100 green beads that represent radioactive atoms and 100 white beads that represent stable, non-radioactive daughter atoms. The green beads are placed in one cup and the white beads in another. They are asked to do two trials, one sampling 8 beads and the other sampling 4 beads at a time.
Starting with a recap of atomic structure, these slides continue by comparing different isotopes of uranium and explaining which are stable and which have a decay period and emit alpha or beta particles. Gamma decay is just mentioned on the last slide, but the multiple clear diagrams should really clarify the understanding of alpha and beta radioactive decay.