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They then gather the radioactive, or M side up M&Ms, put them back in the container, and then pour them out again. and continue this process until all M&Ms are stable, or M side down.

During each trial, students record the number of radioactive parent isotopes and record this in a data table.

This activity would also be easy to adapt when talking about half-lives within a chemistry course. Also, review what a half-life is (info given the day prior during lecture/ notes/ reading).

New information needed to be introduced with parent and daughter isotopes.

Students should recognize each time the number should go down by appx half.

Then students take the class data and create a graph comparing the number of parent isotopes to the number of half-lives.

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Adapted from: For Special Ed and ELL kids, you could give them a template of the data table/graph. Students use M&Ms to demonstrate the idea of radioactive decay. Parent isotopes are represented by the M side up (radioactive). Paul, MN, based on an original activity retrieved from also with the help of Jenni Johansen (other 8th grade science teacher at So. Paul Junior High School In this activity, students gain a better understanding of radioactive dating and half-lives.They not only enjoyed this activity, but they really gained a better understanding of it as well.For many girls, middle school becomes a pressure cooker filled with power struggles, conflicting impulses, physical growth and strong emotions.