Carbon-14 is radioactive and undergoes radioactive decay.Radioactive materials contain some nuclei that are stable and other nuclei that are unstable.

Tell students to design their own experiment, using paper, M&M’s®, Pennies, other 2 sided material or Licorice as a radioactive material undergoing decay to discover the nature of the half-life of that material.

You might suggest that the students experiment with their graphing results to see if trends begin to form.

Isotopes have the same chemical properties, but different physical properties.

An example of isotopes is carbon, which has three main isotopes, carbon-12, carbon-13 and carbon-14.

Description: With the Half-Life Laboratory, students gain a better understanding of radioactive dating and half-lives.

Students are able to visualize and model what is meant by the half-life of a reaction.

The carbon-14 decays, with its half-life of 5,730 years, while the amount of carbon-12 remains constant in the sample.

By looking at the ratio of carbon-12 to carbon-14 in the sample and comparing it to the ratio in a living organism, it is possible to determine the age of a formerly living thing.

It is a great introduction to the scientific process of deducing, forming scientific theories, and communicating with peers.

It is also useful in the mathematics classroom by the process of graphing the data.

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.