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The second lesson, Radioactive Decay: A Sweet Simulation of Half-life, introduces the idea of half-life.By the end of the 8th grade, students should know that all matter is made up of atoms, which are far too small to see directly through a microscope.Libby calculated the half-life of carbon-14 as 5568, a figure now known as the Libby half-life.
So, every living thing is constantly exchanging carbon-14 with its environment as long as it lives. The carbon in its body will remain until it decomposes or fossilizes.
Living things have about 15 disintegrations per minute per gram of carbon.
Because living things constantly interchange carbon atoms, the amount of carbon-14 remains constant, but when organisms die, no new carbon-14 enters the organism.
This lesson is the third in a three-part series about the nucleus, isotopes, and radioactive decay.
The first lesson, Isotopes of Pennies, deals with isotopes and atomic mass.
For the laboratory portion of this lesson, you will have to set up the ring stands, rings, funnels, and graduated cylinders.