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To demonstrate that the rates of decay of unstable nuclei can be measured, that the exact time that a certain nucleus will decay cannot be predicted, and that it takes a very large number of nuclei to find the rate of decay.

This is the second lesson in a three-lesson series about isotopes, radioactive decay, and the nucleus.

It may be combined with the Frosty the Snowman Meets His Demise: An Analogy to Carbon Dating, which can be done while students are flipping their candies.

In your planning, be sure to include time at the end of the lesson for students to post their data and share the class data.

The mathematics of inferring backwards from measurements to age is not appropriate for most students.

They need only know that such calculations are possible. 79.) In this lesson, students will be asked to simulate radioactive decay by pouring small candies, such as plain M&M's® or Skittles®, from a cup and counting which candies fall with their manufacturer's mark down or up.

To do this lesson and understand half-life and rates of radioactive decay, students should understand ratios and the multiplication of fractions, and be somewhat comfortable with probability.

Games with manipulative or computer simulations should help them in getting the idea of how a constant proportional rate of decay is consistent with declining measures that only gradually approach zero.

Once to that page, students should then go to the Isotope Discovery History, a graph of the number of known isotopes versus the date, and to the Chart of Aristotle and Plato (found at the bottom of the page), which the site planners cleverly call "the first chart" of isotopes.

Before the lesson, you will have to weigh out about 80 candies for each group of students.

If you count ten and weigh them, then multiply by 8, you will know how many grams of candy to weigh out for each group.

The first lesson, Isotopes of Pennies, introduces the idea of isotopes.

The final lesson, Frosty the Snowman Meets His Demise: An Analogy to Carbon Dating, is based on gathering evidence in the present and extrapolating it to the past.

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