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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.This time varies from few-millionths of a second to millions of years for different radioactive isotopes. In part, they measure the age of rocks and other natural materials by dating techniques. The text is a tour de farce of abuse of the uncertainty tactic in science dealing with the past designed to shore up the creaking epistemology of creationism.So it's an illustrated (in crayon) catalogue of logical stupidities, internal contradictions and arguments against a young Earth. The list claims to have 101 points, because impressive numbers are impressive.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.
To be able to do this lesson and understand the idea of half-life, students should understand ratios and the multiplication of fractions, and be somewhat comfortable with probability.The curie was named after Marie and Pierre Curie who discovered the element radium. The half-life of an isotope is the time on average that it takes for half of the atoms in a sample to decay.For example, the half-life of carbon-14 is 5730 years.They should also understand that the atoms of any element are alike but are different from atoms of other elements.Atoms may stick together in well-defined molecules or they could be packed together in large arrays.