M&M Lab  

The purpose of this activity is to introduce the students to the concept of radioactive decay and half-life through a hands-on data collection and analysis activity with M&M's. The data from this activity leads directly to the Nuclear Decay Model activity.
1. Count out exactly 100 M&M's, put them into a box, and cover the     box.
2. Record 100 M&M's under time 0 on the data chart.
3. Shake the box.
4. Remove the cover.
    5. Take out all the M&M's where the letters are pointing up. Set         them aside or eat them.
    6. Count the remaining M&M's and record under the time 1 on the         data chart.
    7. Repeat steps 3-6 until there are no M&M's in the box. Record         the number left in the box each time you remove those pointing         up.

    Note: Never put M&M's back in the box. If none of the M&M's              point up, record the same number twice.
Time (Trial)  0  1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9 10 11 12 13
# M&M's in Box 100                          

8.   To graph the data,
      label the x-axis Time (Trial)
      and the y-axis # M&M's in Box
9.   Plot the points from your data chart
      on the graph.
10. Use your graph to determine the
      number of trials needed to
      have 50 M&M's remaining.


11. Suppose that an M&M was shaped like a box that had 6 sides and only one side was marked with M&M.       Would it take more, less or the same amount of time to remove half of the M&M's? Justify your answer.

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