Radiometric dating lab pennies
Students should be able to describe an atom and its basic structure.
This lesson helps students understand the important notion that neutrons in the nucleus add to an atom's mass.
The chance that any penny will come up tails on any toss is always the same, 50 percent.
However, once a penny has come up tails, it is removed.
To demonstrate that isotopes of an element have different masses; that isotopes are atoms of the same element that have different numbers of neutrons; and that atomic mass is the weighted average of the naturally occurring isotopes of an element.
Each time you toss the remaining pennies, about half of them are removed.Remove the pennies that land tail side up, and arrange them in a second column, right beside the first column.Repeat this experiment until all of the pennies have been removed.Rarely will exactly 1/2 of the coins or 1/6 of the cubes decay on the first toss.However, if you repeat the first toss many, many times, the average number of coins that decay will approach 1/2 (or cubes that decay will approach 1/6).
After the first toss, about 1/2 of the original pennies are left; after the second, about 1/4; then 1/8, 1/16, and so on.