In this activity, students model the radioactive decay process for carbon-14 by flipping coins. Each coin represents a carbon-14 atom, and if it lands tails up when flipped, this indicates radioactive decay.

By the end of this activity, students should be able to:

  • appreciate the randomness of radioactive decay
  • describe the concept of half-life
  • explain the exponential nature of radioactive decay
  • relate the radioactivity features of half-life, exponential decay and randomness to C-14 dating of artefacts.

Download the Word file (see link below) for:

  • introduction/background notes
  • what you need
  • what to do
  • student worksheet.


    Published 9 December 2011