Radioactive Dating Lesson Plans

An Age-Dating Simulation by Karen Kalumuck Biology Education Director at the San Francisco Exploratorium Variation and Adaptation for ENSIWEB by Larry Flammer Click here for PDF of this lesson. If a student ever challenges you with criticisms of the reliability or validity of geological age-dating methods, CLICK HERE. SYNOPSIS Students get simulated "rock samples" which show a "highly magnified" selection of atoms, each sample with a different proportion of the atoms of two different elements: By counting the parent radioactive atoms and knowing radioactive dating lesson plans "half-life" of those atoms, students can figure the number of half-lives since the sample solidified, and therefore the "age" of the sample.

PRINCIPAL CONCEPT Age-dating rocks involves counting atoms and comparing the counts. MATERIALS - Ziplock bags containing various ratios of two radioactive dating lesson plans items e. This lesson would probably fit best whenever the ages of fossils or rocks have been encountered, enabling students to readily understand the essentials for how they are dated. Although it could just be a stand-alone lesson, it was intended to introduce our Deep Time lesson, laying the background for doing the isotope radikactive activity 15 in that lesson, then the Deep Time packet and worksheet which can be finished as a homework assignment.

Have available the following items: A colorful geological map, preferably of your area on wall, or as an overhead color transparency. The Deep Time activity envelopes one for each team of two, with radioactive dating lesson plans strips in them The Deep Time handouts: The pre- and post-test quizzes, ready to hand out optional A scaled time-line for the solar system around the classroom, if possible see our Time Machine lesson.

How sure are we about radioactive dating lesson plans ages? How do we measure the radiiactive of rocks? Plwns "atoms" in simulated rock samples of different "ages". Students relate half-lives of radioisotopes to the application of dating rocks. Sequence all known radioisotopes with half-lives greater than 1 million years; look for pattern, showing that all longer-lived isotopes are still with us, and the shorter-lived ones are not, indicating a finite age of our solar system, and that its age must be in the millions radioactive dating lesson plans billions of years.

Do the Deep Time lesson, which lessonn why we are so confident of geological age dates. Do the Virtual Age Dating Tutorial onlinefor further reinforcing of half-life concept and how this is applied to dating rocks. This is especially helpful in explaining how isochrones work, and why they are so compelling. Consider using other items to replace the beans and popcorn. Also consider permanently sealing each set in its plastic bag, if you have such a device.

If you have a fair number of math-literate students, consider providing lesso number of bags "rock samples" with ratios other than ardioactive half-life proportions, and have class create a half-life curve and figure out the age of their particular samples according to where they fit on the curve. Encourage or even facilitate students to do the online Virtual Age Dating Tutorialusing a high speed internet connection, with the prospect of earning their official "Certificates of Completion as a Virtual Geochronologist".

Consider taking your students on a simulated journey back in time in our Time Machine. It's an experience they'll never forget well, maybe in time. Be sure to display a scaled geological time in your room throughout the year, something you can use repeatedly, helping your students to internalize the relative timing for events occurring in geological history. See the Time Machine lesson for specifics.

If the reader believes this to be the case, please let us know, and appropriate corrections will be made. Larry Flammer, April,and successfully tested on classes of Earth Science students. Return to List radioactive dating lesson plans Lessons. Students get simulated "rock samples" which show a "highly radioactive dating lesson plans selection of atoms, each sample with a sating proportion of the atoms of two different elements: Try the pre- and post-tests a item multiple choice quiz providedor create your own.

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The full page is available ONLY to subscribers. This grade activity introduces students to the idea of sequencing information in overlapping data sets and the Principle of Superposition, which is a core concept in relative dating. An Equal Opportunity University. How Would You Help? It is a project of the National Domestic Violence Hotline. Short discussion of radioactive dating and stratigraphic principles.