Once students are in their groups, with supplies, and general directions are given, they are on their own for doing their runs.
Students will record the number of M&Ms that are still "radioactive" (M side up) in their data table after each run, and set aside the "stable" (M side down) M&Ms.
They will only re shake the radioactive M&Ms each time. Once they are finished with their 8 runs, they will record their data on the class data table (which can be on the board).
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The first post question caused some confusion: Why didn't each group get the same results?
A lot of the students said because they shook the containers differently... I also have students wash their hands before the activity, because of course after, the students eat the M&Ms. Radioactive decay and half-lives can be a very difficult concept for our 8th graders to grasp.
As far as mastery of content, this activity is done in our rocks and minerals unit.
Students should have some prior knowledge of rocks and how they are dated. Materials Needed: -100 M&Ms (per group) -Notebook -Piece of Paper -Plastic Container with a Lid Lesson should be introduced by reviewing the 2 broad ways scientists age rocks (relative dating and radioactive dating).
Once all groups finish, each group records their info on the class decay table (on the board) and we calculate the averages of the class. Isotope Concepts: Students should begin to see the pattern that each time they dump out their M&Ms, about half become stable.