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Radioactive Decay and Half-Life Simulations Kit

(in stock)


Scientists have found many ways to harness radiation, including for the generation of electricity. There are currently 99 active nuclear reactors in the United States being used for this purpose. Though radioactive isotopes decay into stable, nonradioactive isotopes, a given mass of material may retain its radioactivity for millions or even billions of years, depending on the isotopes involved and their respective half-lives. Among many considerations, scientists need to be able to model the decay of radioactive material when making determinations regarding the storage of nuclear waste. Students will use this investigative phenomenon as a framework from which to address the driving question, “What is the value to scientists of modeling radioactive decay?”

Time Requirement
Total, 240 minutes. Teacher prep, 60 minutes. Pre-lab, 40 minutes. Three investigations, 110 minutes. Assessment, 30 minutes.

Digital Resources
Includes 1-year access to digital resources that support 3-dimensional instruction for NGSS. Digital resources may include a teacher manual and student guide, pre-lab activities and setup videos, phenomenon videos, simulations, and post-lab analysis and assessments.

Performance Expectations

Crosscutting Concepts
Stability and Change

Disciplinary Core Ideas
PS1.C: Nuclear Processes

Science and Engineering Practices
Developing and Using Models

Learning Objectives

  • Model the nuclear process of radioactive decay.
  • Analyze why atoms change in order to gain stability.
  • Determine the half-life of a sample taken from student-generated data.

Prerequisite Knowledge and Skills
Students should be able to calculate protons, neutrons, and electrons for atoms and isotopes; interpret isotope abbreviations; and create a graph by hand or by computer.


What’s Included:
  • 12 Pipets
  • 10 Cotton Balls
  • 10 Plastic Tubes, 1 x 12"
  • 500 Cubes
  • 10 Radioisotope Card Sets
  • 10 Radioactive Decay Card Sets
  • 1 Rubber Stoppers, #5.5, 1 Hole, 1 lb
  • 1 Carolina Science Online® Resources (1-year subscription)
  • 1 Teacher's Manual with Reproducible Student Guide
  • expand to see full list
Needed But Not Included:
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