Carbon 14 isotope

An interactive lab where students assemble their own carbon-14 isotope given the atomic mass and number of protons.

This lesson is a part of MEL VR Science Simulations. Learn more →

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Teacher's notes


car­bon, atom, nu­cle­us, pro­ton, neu­tron, iso­tope, elec­tron, elec­tron or­bital, elec­tron con­fig­u­ra­tion di­a­gram, s-or­bital, p-or­bital

Stu­dents will

  • Build a car­bon-14 atom know­ing the num­ber of pro­tons and the mass num­ber of the iso­tope
  • Re­view the mass num­ber and de­duce how many neu­trons the nu­cle­us con­tains
  • Re­view elec­troneu­tral­i­ty and cal­cu­late the num­ber of elec­trons in a car­bon atom
  • Re­view elec­tron or­bital names, shapes, and or­der of ap­pear­ance
  • Re­view elec­tron con­fig­u­ra­tion di­a­grams

Top­ics to dis­cuss

  • Ra­dioac­tiv­i­ty, sta­ble and un­sta­ble iso­topes
  • Half-life
  • Ra­dio­car­bon dat­ing