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The exercise they will go through of working backwards from measurements to age should help them understand how scientists use carbon dating to try to determine the age of fossils and other materials.
To be able to do this lesson and understand the idea of half-life, students should understand ratios and the multiplication of fractions, and be somewhat comfortable with probability.
Familiar to us as the black substance in charred wood, as diamonds, and the graphite in “lead” pencils, carbon comes in several forms, or isotopes.
One rare form has atoms that are 14 times as heavy as hydrogen atoms: carbon-14, or C ratio gets smaller.
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Create a model of radioactive decay using dice and test its predictive power on dating the age of a hypothetical rock or artifact. That is what we encounter in our daily lives, right?
The Earth orbits the Sun in about one year's time, the Earth rotates on its axis every 24 hours, 60 ticks of the second hand on a clock indicates 1 minute has passed.
It makes no sense at all if man appeared at the end of billions of years.
Anthropologists, archeologists, and paleontologists also use radioactive isotopes to date mummies, pottery, and dinosaur fossils. It is no more complicated than playing a dice game! Roll the Dice & Use Radiometric Dating to Find Out.