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Name: Stephanie Tang Date: March 28, 2017

Science 10: Half Life Lab

Ensure you have the lives animation open while answering the questions
below. Type your answers directly below each question. Follow the instructions
carefully, and then answer the questions.


To use an animation of different radioactive isotopes to learn about radioactive



- lives animation
- graph paper or Microsoft excel


1) Click on Carbon 14. Slide the slider on the bottom across to carbon 14.

What is one life of carbon 14 equal to? What fraction of Carbon 14 has
not decayed at this point? What is the ratio of parent to daughter product
at this point?

One life of carbon - 14 is equal to 50% of the original sample. 50% of

the sample has not decayed at this point. The ratio of parent to daughter
product is 1:1.

2) Carbon 14 is used to date items that were once living like fossils. If
a fossil was found that was about 25% parent and 75 % daughter (or a 1:3
ratio), how old was this fossil?

This fossil has been through two half-lives. It is 11460 years old.

3) Click on iodine 131. Slide the slider across to one life.

How does the life of iodine 131 compare to carbon -14? What is one
life of iodine - 131 equal to?

The life of iodine 131 is equal to approximately 8.07 days. Its half-life
is much shorter compared to carbon 14.
4) Slide the slider all the way over to 4 half lives. Note that the amount of
original sample (the parent) goes down by each time. Complete the
blanks in the table below for iodine 131, use the animation to help.

# of lives Time % Parent % Daughter Parent:Daughter Ratio

0 0 100 0 -
1 8 days 50 50 1:1
2 16 days 25 75 1:3
3 24 days 12.5 87.5 1:7
4 32 days 6.25 93.75 1:15

5) See graph attached.


1) What is a life?
Half life measures the rate of radioactive decay. It is the time required for
half of radioactive sample to decay.

2) Why would iodine 131 and nitrogen -16 NOT be useful for dating really
old objects?
Iodine 131 has a half life of approximately eight days. Nitrogen 16 has a half
life of around seven seconds. They both have very short half lives so they
would not be useful to date old objects.

3) You want to find the age of a really old rock. Why would carbon-14 not be
Carbon 14 is good for dating because it has a very long half life and decays at
a constant rate. It can date objects up to 50 000 years old.


This lab demonstrated the rate of radioactive decay in a simulated

environment with elements not usually available in a classroom setting. The
combination of the pie chart and the graph helped show the relationship between
the percentage and relative remaining amounts of radioactive decay. Throughout
the lab, the practical applications of lives were also taught.