Students then should be able to see the connection between the M&M’s and Puzzle Pieces and radioactive elements in archaeological samples.Seeing this connection will help students to understand how scientists can determine the age of a sample by looking at the amount of radioactive material in the sample.
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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.
Carbon-14 has a half-life of 5730 years, which means that if you take one gram of carbon-14, half of it will decay in 5730 years. The ratio of the amounts of carbon-12 to carbon-14 in a human is the same as in every other living thing.
It is also useful in the mathematics classroom by the process of graphing the data.
Students should begin to see the pattern that each time they “take a half-life,” about half of the surrogate radioactive material becomes stable.
After death, the carbon-14 decays and is not replaced.