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Explore Radioactive Decay with Coins

Explore the science of radioactive decay with a safe hands-on family STEM activity.

Explore Radioactive Decay with Coins / Family STEM Activity

As radioactive materials decay, or break down, they emit radiation that may be harmful. Unfortunately, the amount of time it takes for a radioactive material to decay varies. Scientists talk about the rate of decay in terms of the material's "half-life." Some materials have a very short half-life and others have a very long half-life.

In this week's family science activity, students can simulate the process of radioactive decay and explore the math behind the process to better understand why some radioactive materials stick around for a very long time.

The following Science Buddies activity on the Scientific American website has all the information you need to do this fun activity with your students at home: Half-Life Coins.

To view a related independent student project at Science Buddies, see:

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